LAPD Capt. Demoted Over Rough Arrest Files Harassment Complaint Against Chief Beck

Captain Joseph Hiltner contends that he was "demoted two substantial levels and transferred against my will without cause."

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    NEWSLETTERS

    The video of LAPD officers slamming a woman to the ground after a traffic stop prompt the LAPD chief to removal Capt. Joe Hiltner from his command at the Foothill Area Division. Hiltner has filed a discrimination, harassment lawsuit against the department and his attorney, Steven Brock, says there are reasons by Hiltner didn t immediately remove the officers from the field. Gordon Tokumatsu reports from Chino Hills for the NBC4 News at 6 p.m. on Sept. 4, 2012.

    A top officer in the LAPD Foothill Division who was demoted after officers under his command slammed a handcuffed woman into the pavement has filed a harassment claim against Police Chief Charlie Beck.

    Capt. Joseph Hiltner, a 34-year veteran with the department, was "demoted two substantial levels and transferred against my will without cause," according to the claim filed Tuesday with the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing.

    Witness: LAPD Arrest "Was Overboard"

    [LA] Witness: LAPD Arrest "Was Overboard"
    Raymond Branch describes what he saw on Aug. 21 when Michelle Jordan, 34, was arrested by two LAPD officers in Tujunga. Security cameras from a Del Taco restaurant captured the arrest, which Jordan says was unnecessarily rough. The LAPD has launched a use-of-force investigation. Kim Baldonado reports for NBC4 News at 11 p.m. on Aug. 28, 2012

    Hiltner (pictured at right) has also been "assigned to home," meaning he must stay at home during work hours, according to his attorney, Steven Brock.  

    Experts, LAPD Chief Weigh in on Alleged Rough Arrest

    [LA] Experts, LAPD Chief Weigh in on Alleged Rough Arrest
    Peter Bibring with the American Civil Liberties Union says police unions and civil rights group will be watching how the LAPD handles the recorded arrest of 34-year-old Michelle Jordan, who was thrown to the ground during the exchange. Gordon Tokumatsu reports from Downtown Los Angeles for the NBC4 News at 6 p.m. on Aug. 29, 2012.

    The complaint, which also names Assistant Chief Earl Paysinger and Deputy Chief Jorge Villegas, is the first step in the process of filing a lawsuit against the department.

    The incident, captured on surveillance video from a fast food restaurant on Foothill Boulevard at Saluda in the Tujunga area, and reported first on NBC4 occurred late on the morning of Aug. 21 when officers stopped Michelle Jordan, 34, for allegedly talking on her cell phone while driving.

    Part 1: Lawyer Says Demoted LAPD Captain's "Hanging In Here"

    [LA] Part 1: Lawyer Says Demoted LAPD Captain's "Hanging In Here"
    Steven Brock explains why Capt. Joseph Hiltner is filing a claim with the Department of Fair Employment and Housing. Hiltner was downgraded and removed from his position at LAPD Foothill Area Division after two of his officers were caught on video knocking a woman to the ground after stopping her for allegedly using her cell phone while driving. Gordon Tokumatsu interviews Brock for the NBC4 News on Sept. 4, 2012.

    The officers handcuffed Jordan and engaged in some discussion, perhaps argumentative by Jordan's own account. A short time later, while Jordan remained handcuffed, one of the officers threw her to the pavement, head first. Another encounter occurred between Jordan and the officers and she was taken to the ground a second time, according to a statement released by the LAPD.

    The LAPD launched an investigation into the arrest. Both officers involved in the incident were pulled off the street, one assigned to desk duty and the other sent home. Hiltner's demotion soon followed, with Beck describing Hiltner's response as "severely deficient."

    Part 2: Alleged Rough Arrest Did Not Warrant Officers' Immediate Removal, Lawyer Says

    [LA] Part 2: Alleged Rough Arrest Did Not Warrant Officers' Immediate Removal, Lawyer Says
    Attorney Steven Brock explains the steps Capt. Joseph Hiltner took after he discovered two of his officers had knocked a woman to the ground twice during an arrest which was caught on surveillance camera. Brock says Hilter who was downgraded from his position at the LAPD Foothill Division did not immediately remove the officers from patrol duty because there was not enough information at the time to warrant the move. Gordon Tokumatsu interviews Brock for the NBC4 News on Sept. 4, 2012.

    Exclusive Interview With Hiltner's Lawyer: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4

    Brock said his client had seen the video and followed department protocol. "Captain Hiltner's impression --with the information that he had -- did not warrant removing the officers immediately from the field," Brock said. 

    Part 3: What's Next for Demoted LAPD Captain?

    [LA] Part 3: What's Next for Demoted LAPD Captain?
    Attorney Steven Brock explains why he "begs to differ" that two officers' use of force against 34-year-old Michelle Jordan, caught on surveillance video, was not warranted, as some civil rights experts have suggested. Brock has filed a complaint with the Department of Fair Employment and Housing on behalf of Capt. Joseph Hiltner, who was demoted after the incident came to light. Gordon Tokumatsu interviews Brock for the NBC4 News on Sept. 4, 2012.

    Instead, Brock said, Hiltner started a "personnel complaint," which would not require him to report details higher up the chain of command. 

    Brock says his client's demotion by LAPD brass was a highly unusual and possibly unprecedented response to an allegation of excessive force.

    Part 4: Lawyer Says LAPD Captain's Demotion is "Highly Unusual"

    [LA] Part 4: Lawyer Says LAPD Captain's Demotion is "Highly Unusual"
    Attorney Steven Brock explains how Capt. Joseph Hiltner's demotion after two of his officers were caught on video knocking a woman to the ground plays into the captain s discrimination lawsuit filed against LAPD. Also, Brock accuses the department of denying Hiltner the opportunity to share this experience and learn how to move forward because he was ordered to stay home during a bureau-wide debriefing and training session. Gordon Tokumatsu interviews Brock for the NBC4 News on Sept. 4, 2012.

    He says the demotion was the leadership's way of retaliating against Hiltner for unrelated actions. Earlier this year Hiltner defended another captain in a harassment and discrimination case, Brock said. The captain in question was exonerated, Brock said, but Hiltner has been targeted for removal ever since.  

    Full Text of Claim Filed with California Department of Fair Employment and Housing

    After becoming aware of harassment, discrimination, and retaliation against another employee in the workplace, and after my attempts to stop, correct, and report the wrongful conduct by my superiors, I was subjected to retaliation, discrimination, and harassment by my superiors [employer].

    I also complained of retaliation and discrimination after my superiors initiated and served me with false and inaccurate documentation setting forth adverse employment actions and actions disciplinary in nature.

    Also as a result of my opposition to discrimination, harassment, and retaliation, my superiors singled me out for adverse employment actions which were also discriminatory, retaliatory, and disciplinary in nature.

    I have been demoted two substantial levels and transferred against my will without cause. I have and will continue to lose substantial financial damages and extensive damage to my standing and reputation in my workplace.

    I have been treated unfairly and singled out for adverse employment actions and the discriminatory and retaliatory treatment because of my opposition to my employers discriminatory, harassing, and retaliatory conduct against another employee.

    Further, I have been singled out for such action by my employer in such a manner that is inconsistent with my employers past practices.


    Related Articles:

    Capt. in Rough Arrest a "Scapegoat"-- Sept. 1, 2012

    Captain "Downgraded" in Alleged Rough Arrest -- Aug. 29, 2012

    Caught on Video: Woman Accuses LAPD of Rough Arrest -- Aug. 28, 2012

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