The videotaped LAPD slam-fest against 34-year-old Michelle Jordan in a Del Taco parking lot near Tujunga appears to have cost an LAPD division commander a demotion.
The episode seems to have really pissed off L.A.'s top cop, Charlie Beck, who announced last night that Foothill Division Capt. Joseph Hiltner is off that particular job and will now face a possible job downgrade because he allegedly didn't put the two officers involved on desk duty.
In fact, Beck said that Hiltner also …
… failed to notify the proper authorities, ostensibly higher-ups.
I have serious concerns about this incident and I believe the Commanding Officer of Foothill Area was severely deficient in his response. Proper steps were not taken, including appropriate notifications and the removal of the involved officers from the field. Because of these issues, I have removed him from his command and initiated downgrade procedures. Every Los Angeles Police Officer, regardless of rank, will be held accountable for their actions.
Ouch. Beck seems like a stand-up guy who has been buffeted by a double blow of cops caught on tape using force this summer (not to mention some bad press over a confrontation with people drawing in chalk on sidewalks downtown).
Perhaps Hiltner who, ironically or not, was a top dog at the Pacific Division that patrols Venice, is a victim of bad timing:
On Aug. 18 police in Venice were caught on tape piling on an African American college student who didn't stop after he was told to have a chat regarding skateboarding on the wrong side of the street.
One of the officers is seen punching Ronald Weekley, Jr. in the face as he's on the ground outside his apartment.
As he lawyered up, the 20-year-old claimed some serious injuries — claims that have been discounted by some critics. But the video was politically damaging, and Beck expressed concern.
Then Jordan happened.
She was pulled over by Foothill officers just three days later for allegedly using a cell phone behind the wheel without a hands-free device.
The nurse admits that she mouthed off to the officers. The video shows her being slammed against the patrol car and then again against the ground, apparently as she's wearing handcuffs. Then there's a fist bump. Score.
For this one both cops were taken off active duty. Beck last night said one was sent home.
A full-blown investigation, including a criminal inquiry, was underway.
Beck has been smart to get ahead of this. Summer still has some life left. People get angry over this sort of thing.