In Indiana, officers from the Hammond Police Department are in hot water after video showing them breaking a window and using a Taser gun on an unarmed Black man were released. The man and the driver of the vehicle filed a civil rights lawsuit while authorities scramble to defend the actions of the officers.
The incident took place back on September 24 when Hammond police pulled over Lisa Mahone, 47, and her passenger, Jamal Jones, for not wearing seat belts. According to their lawsuit, Mahone tried to explain to officers that she was rushing to a nearby hospital to visit her dying mother. Mahone did not balk at the charges, but the suit alleges that the officers used aggressive force in the interaction.
In the backseat, Malone’s 14-year-old son and 7-year-old daughter were in the back. The son began videotaping the affair after things got heated. The Hammond police also reportedly videotaped the ordeal but have not released their footage to the public but used it to back up their claims that officers acted within the law.
From ABC News:
Mahone and Jones allege in their complaint that Officers Patrick Vicari and Charles Turner were “highly aggressive” during the traffic stop. They said the officers requested Mahone’s identification but also Jones’. Because he did not have a driver’s license, according to the complaint, Jones offered a piece of paper that included his information but the officers declined.
According to the complaint, when Jones refused to leave the vehicle because he and Mahone felt they were in “imminent danger,” officers smashed the passenger-side window and used a stun gun on him.
Jones was arrested and later charged with resisting law enforcement. Mahone received a citation for not wearing her seat belt and was let go.
Kurtz, their lawyer, said the officers had no right to ask Jones to exit the car unless they had probable cause. “These officers engaged in excessive force and were completely unreasonable,” Kurtz said today. “There was absolutely no basis to engage in the conduct that they did or to arrest [Jones.]”
The Hammond Police Department issued a statement, saying the officers thought that the “occupants of the vehicle may have possessed a weapon, and seeing the passenger repeatedly reach towards the rear seats of the vehicle, the first officer then broke the passenger side window of the vehicle and the passenger was removed from the vehicle and was placed under arrest.”
There was pending litigation prior to this newly filed complaint by Mahone and Jones, who are represented by Dana Kurtz. The previous litigation matters have been settled, and the city is maintaining that the officers did nothing wrong despite agreeing to terms.
Beyond the statement, Hammond police are not commenting on the ongoing matter. The lawsuit also states that the children were hit with shards of glass because of the encounter.
Watch the video of the confrontation in the clip below. A warning: the images could trigger an emotional response.