Kim Baldonado, Sean Browning, Rodney Danson
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
Surveillance video from a Del Taco not far from where Michelle Jordan, 34, was stopped by police has prompted an internal investigation into how LAPD handled the arrest, which the woman says was unnecessarily rough.
Update, Aug. 29: Officer Stripped of Rank in Alleged Rough Arrest
The security video -- obtained exclusively by NBC4 -- shows a patrol car pull up at about 11:15 a.m. on Aug. 21 near Foothill Boulevard at Saluda in the Tujunga area.
Police say they pulled her over for allegedly using her cell phone while driving. It looks like a routine traffic stop, until Jordan gets out of her vehicle.
"She made some unwise moves," said her attorney Sy Nazif. "But certainly nothing that warranted a physical assault from the LAPD."
Moments after Jordan, of Sunland, gets out of the car, officers put her in handcuffs. After some discussion, perhaps argumentative by Jordan's own account, one of the officers throws her to the pavement, head first.
"A short time later while still handcuffed another encounter occurred between Jordan and the officers and she was taken to the ground a second time," according to a statement released by LAPD Tuesday night.
Raymond Branch was outside the Del Taco when the arrest went down.
"The first part, I believe they had a right to arrest her for resisting, but the second part was overboard," Branch said.
The 34-year-old woman was arrested on suspicion of interfering/resisting arrest and released on her own recognizance.
Jordan and her attorney say the move caused her serious injuries to the head and upper body, which they have documented with photos, as shown below.
"At no point was she a threat to these officers, and she was in cuffs," Nazif said. "We give them authority and power. If somebody says the wrong thing, they can't use that , use that authority to physically attack her."
The LAPD says a use of force investigation has been launched in the case and both male officers -- one with 22 years of service, the other a probationary officer with 10 months on the job -- have been taken off the street until the probe is complete.
The case has made its way to the desk of LAPD Chief Charlie Beck.
"My initial review of the officers' statements and the recorded video cause (sic) me to have serious concerns about this Use of Force," Beck said in a statement. "We will investigate this thoroughly and hold our officers accountable for their actions."
This incident is the latest involving what suspects have described as rough arrests on the part of LAPD officers.
Earlier this month, 20-year-old skateboarder Ronald Weekley Jr. was tackled and pinned to the ground outside his Venice home. The arrest was caught on cellphone video, prompting several nights of protests in the area by demonstrators claiming officers were racially profiling residents.
An internal investigation has been launched into the arrest Weekley, whose family has hired Benjamin Clump, the attorney representing the family of slain Florida teen Travyon Martin.