FOP disputes suspension of Lower Merion officer who tased woman during traffic stop

Annie McCormick Image
Thursday, March 16, 2023
FOP disputes suspension of officer who tased woman during traffic stop
There were tense moments during a Lower Merion Township's Commissioner's meeting Wednesday night following the suspension of an officer who tased a woman during a traffic stop.

LOWER MERION TWP., Pennsylvania (WPVI) -- There were tense moments during a Lower Merion Township Commissioner's meeting Wednesday night following the suspension of an officer who tased a woman during a traffic stop.

FOP Lodge #28 is not happy with a 10-day suspension lodged by the board against police officer Charles Murphy.

Murphy tased 37-year-old Chaine Jordan during a traffic stop on January 8.

In the video, Murphy approaches the vehicle with his gun drawn and orders Jordan to put down her tinted window.

Murphy initiated the stop more than a mile away after allegedly seeing Jordan tailgate another vehicle.

SEE ALSO: Lower Merion police release body camera video after officer uses Taser during traffic stop

Lower Merion police said the officer was legally justified to deploy his taser. But they acknowledge best practices in de-escalation were not used.

But according to police, Jordan and the driver of the vehicle she was allegedly following both took off after initially stopping for the officer.

Jordan then pulled over into a Wawa parking lot more than a mile away, and that's when Murphy and several other officers approached.

Jordan is uncooperative in the video. Murphy approached with his gun drawn and threatened to break the window, which was tinted, and he asked for her to put it down. Murphy then tased Jordan.

An internal investigation by the department led the superintendent to issue a one-day unpaid suspension. But at a recent commissioner's meeting, the board voted 9-4 to issue a 10-day unpaid suspension.

"We would be more open to an independent investigation," said FOP Lodge 28 President John Iushewitz.

"We're not saying the officer is 100% right, there are things we could've done better, but we also have to look at the job the officer does," he added.

The FOP acknowledges the internal investigation found policy violations but they did not find that he had any use of force violations, or bias or racism.

The FOP wants Murphy's suspension appealed while the Mainline NAACP wants harsher penalties.

"We feel that the incident went too far ... if there was proper de-escalation at that time, we feel the situation wouldn't had led to what it is today. We're calling for accountability," said Brian Reese-Turner, president of the Mainline NAACP.

SEE ALSO: Justified force? Lower Merion traffic stop under investigation

With a gun in hand, a Lower Merion police officer demanded the female driver to keep her window rolled down. At one point the officer threatened to break the window.

Reese-Turner said in response to the internal investigation, "Essentially it's the police policing themselves. There's not any outside body that gets to have insight into the matter."

And he is calling for not only the removal of the officer but the superintendent as well. But he said he would like to see a more diverse police oversight board to review cases like this rather than the current system.

Jordan faces multiple charges including fleeing and eluding police, driving on a suspended license and possession of a controlled substance. A judge held the charges during a recent preliminary hearing.

"We're not countering any of the pieces that came out from that situation, we're just arguing what occurred after that happened was inappropriate she should never have been tased, she should never have been violently accosted to get her out of the car," said Reese-Turner.