The commanding officer of the Los Angeles Police Department's Topanga Area said Thursday he wants the community to know that the recent use of force incident in the Foothill Division was not something the department was defending or trying to justify.
"Those are not the proper force options to use," Captain Tom Brascia said about the actions of two officers who were seen on a video body-slamming a handcuffed woman to the pavement.
Thirty-four-year-old Michelle Jordan, a nurse, was pulled over in Tujunga for holding a cell phone while driving.
Brascia came to a meeting of the Woodland Hills-Tarzana Chamber of Commerce's government affairs committee to tell community leaders that the LAPD was not taking a wait-and-see position about the incident. While a full investigation will be conducted, LAPD Chief Charlie Beck took immediate action to remove Capt. Joseph Hiltner from his position as commanding officer of Foothill Area. The two officers involved also were reassigned, one to a desk job and one to "home."
Brascia said there was a time when the LAPD would have reacted to the incident by refusing to criticize the actions of the officers until the investigation was completed, but that has changed.
"I'm not going to stand up here and say what he did was the first thing he should have done," he told the group of about twenty people meeting at a Woodland Hills fire station. Brascia dismissed the claim that the 5-foot-4 woman had resisted arrest. "I heard that she may have gotten 'mouthy,' he said. "That's the line of work that we're in. People mouth off to us."