When you are arrested or detained by law enforcement, the law allows policing agencies to use reasonable force to achieve their legal objective — without subjecting you to punishment. If police step over the line of legitimate policing into punishment, your civil rights may be at issue.
On August 12, 2012, 34-year-old Los Angeles mother Michelle Jordan was on her way to pick up her grandmother from a hospital when she was signaled over near the intersection of Foothill Boulevard and Saluda Street by police officers with the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) for a cell phone violation. What followed is shocking:
Pulling into a Del Taco restaurant parking lot to speak officers, Ms. Jordan, a registered nurse, stepped from her car and was slammed to the pavement and handcuffed.
Ms. Jordan was roughed up, twice thrown to the ground and placed in the back of the patrol car as officers allegedly engaged in a congratulatory fist-bump.
Never charged with a cell phone violation, Ms. Jordan was detained for six hours, arrested for resisting arrest and released.
From the beating, Mr. Jordan suffered laceration and internal injuries, leaving facial scars and chronic spinal damage.
While investigation of incidents of this nature often rely on the subjective statements of each party, in this case, the restaurant security camera captured the brutal exchange in the parking lot.
Of the incident, LAPD police Chief Charlie Beck stated on August 29, 2012, [m]y initial review of the officers' statements and the recorded video cause me to have serious concerns about this Use of Force.
In March of this year, Ms. Jordan filed suit against the city, the two police officers and their commanding officer at that time.
Unless the matter settles, a Los Angeles jury will hear the allegations and decide for themselves whether actions considered reasonable by two Los Angeles police officers were in fact a punishing display of excessive force.