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

ByChad Pradelli and Cheryl Mettendorf WPVI logo
Wednesday, January 18, 2023
Lower Merion police release video of controversial 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.

LOWER MERION TWP., Pennsylvania (WPVI) -- A Lower Merion Township police officer will be facing disciplinary review in connection with a controversial traffic stop in which a woman was tased.

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

On Tuesday, police released video of the January 8 traffic stop.

Police said the incident began a mile down the road from the Wawa in Bala Cynwyd when an officer tried to pull Chaine Jordan over for allegedly tailgating a pickup truck.

Jordan and the pickup driver pull over briefly and then drive off.

Jordan then activated her hazards. Police said she also bypassed multiple locations to pull over before she proceeded to the parking lot off Rock Hill Road.

The officer with gun drawn and pointed down engaged in a roughly two-minute conversation where she allegedly wouldn't provide her license or registration and instead asked for a supervisor to arrive.

"There is an unknown risk here, you have the pursuit, you non-compliance of the occupants. You have an inability to see in the car. These are all concerning," said Captain Gene Pasternak of the Lower Merion police.

Police said Jordan's Volvo had blacked out windows and she wouldn't keep her window fully rolled down. But police brass acknowledges the primary officer could have de-escalated the situation better by waiting for backup, using the vehicle's megaphone system to command the situation and use less forceful language.

"Better tactics could have improved the circumstances," Captain Pasternak added.

Attorney Nadeem Bezar, who represents Jordan, said his client didn't feel safe pulling over on Conshohocken State Road.

"A driver who doesn't know why they are being pulled over, doesn't know why they are being surrounded, doesn't know why guns are drawn, immediately goes into a flight or panic situation. Not unusual," said Bezar.

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.

He also said the officer who removed his gun from his holster made his client feel unsafe.

"I think we all agree guns drawn on a traffic stop is a bit aggressive," Bezar added.

Police have charged Jordan, of Norristown, with resisting arrest, fleeing an officer, driving with a suspended license and drug charges after oxycodone and drug paraphernalia were allegedly found.

"Tailgating that results in tasering," said Bezar, "I am not sure how I see that that adds up."

The officer who deployed his Taser remains on desk duty as the investigation continues. At the very least, the police superintendent says he will undergo additional training.