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LAPD captain files suit over demotion in alleged use of force incident

September 11, 2012 12:00:00 AM PDT
Attorneys for a Los Angeles police captain demoted over a use of force incident have filed suit against the department.

Captain Joseph Hiltner says he feels disrespected by his own department. The 34-year veteran was removed from his command after two of his officers were accused of using excessive force on a woman who was stopped for a cellphone violation.

Michelle Jordan was thrown to the ground twice, once while in handcuffs. The incident was caught on video. While the officers say she resisted arrest, the City Attorney's Office on Tuesday said it will not file any charges against her, citing lack of evidence.

Police Chief Charlie Beck said Hiltner failed to relieve officers from field duty and notify his superiors about the incident. Hiltner says he does not defend the officer's action, but says he handled the incident properly.

He says he filed a personnel complaint against the officers. While he acknowledges the chief has the right to move members of his team at will, Hiltner claims Beck can't do it out of retaliation. In the pending lawsuit, he alleges he's being punished for contradicting other commanders during a personnel investigation several months ago. The LAPD has not commented on the lawsuit.

Meantime, Beck says there is positive news for the department regarding use of force incidents. He reports a dramatic drop in officer-involved shootings, which are down 39 percent from the same time last year.

"While I am always concerned about the individual use of force, I think the department's reaction and our experience in the aggregate shows that its response is appropriate," said Beck.


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