Video shows officer smash window, stun passenger in traffic stop

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WARNING: Video could be too intense for some audiences. Viewer discretion advised. 

HAMMOND, Ind. — An Indiana family is suing a city and the local police after officers allegedly smashed a car window to stun and arrest a passenger during a traffic stop.

The family said police pulled them over because the two front passengers were not wearing seat belts on Sept. 24 in Hammond, Indiana.

Both sides argued they feared for their safety during the traffic stop, which was videotaped by a teenager in the car.

The video in question 

“I’m scared for my life,” Lisa Mahone’s voice is heard in a video, speaking from the driver’s seat of her car.

In the passenger seat, her partner, Jamal Jones, talks to officers gathered outside his door.

His window is rolled down only a few inches. “I don’t know what’s going on,” he says.

Joseph Ivy, 14, and Janiya Ivy, 7, are in the back seat.

One of them holds a camera and is recording the exchange.

“Are you going to open the door,” an officer asks Jones.

“How can you say they are not going to hurt you? People are getting shot by the police,” Mahone said before her voice breaks into screams as an officer smashes the passenger window.

Jones joins her screams as his body convulses from the electric shock of the stun gun.

Officers then pull him out of the car, handcuff him and take him away.

Fear on both sides break window traffic stop

Minutes before the incident, the family was driving to the hospital to visit Mahone’s dying mother.

Hammond Police Officers Patrick Vicari and Charles Turner stopped Mahone because neither she nor Jones wore seat belts, according to Hammond Police spokesman Lt. Richard Hoyda.

The officers placed spike strips under the car’s wheels and approached Mahone.

Mahone “informed the officers that her mother was dying and that (they) were on the way to the hospital to see her before she died,” read the complaint. “Rather than issuing Lisa (Mahone) a ticket for failure to wear a seat belt, the officers demanded that Jamal (Jones), the passenger, provide the officers with his identification as well.”

But Jones didn’t have an identification.

He had previously turned over his license for an unrelated citation.

“Jamal offered to show the officers the ticket, which had his information on it but the officers refused,” the complaint stated.

However, police tell a different story.

Call to 911

Jones refused to identify himself and repeatedly ignored requests to step out of the car after officers feared he had a weapon, Hoyda said.

“The first officer saw the passenger inside the vehicle drop his left hand behind the center console inside of the vehicle. Fearing for officer safety, the first officer ordered the passenger to show his hands and then repeatedly asked him to exit the vehicle,” Hoyda said.

Meanwhile, Mahone was on the phone with a 911 operator requesting to speak to a supervisor.

Courtesy: WTKR

Courtesy: WTKR

‘Fear for their safety’

Mahone, Jones and the children “were in reasonable fear for their safety,” read the complaint. “After a minute or two for no reason, the officers drew their weapons.”

At this point Mahone is heard pleading with someone in the video.

“He (Jones) is looking for his information in his book bag. When he goes into his book bag, they pull a gun out. What was the purpose of a gun? And now they ask me to open my door so I can get out. I’m scared. If you can pull out a gun in front of … there is two kids in the back seat.”

Both the Police Department and Hammond are standing by the officers.

“Police officers who make legal traffic stops are allowed to ask passengers inside of a stopped vehicle for identification and to request that they exit a stopped vehicle for the officer’s safety without a requirement of reasonable suspicion,” Hoyda said.

Hammond Mayor Thomas M. McDermott, Jr. cited two recent police officer deaths in Indiana as the reason for heightened precautions.

“While I hope that situations like this one can be avoided in the future, I am standing solidly behind the actions of these police officers,” McDermott said.

Mahone was cited for failure to wear a seat belt and a license plate reciprocity violation.

Jones was arrested for failure to aid an officer, resisting law enforcement and was also cited for a seat belt violation, according to Hoyda.

Lawsuit

In a lawsuit filed this week in the Northern District Court of Indiana, Mahone, Jones and the two children accuse the city, Vicari, Turner and “other unknown officers” of excessive force, false arrest and imprisonment, assault and battery, and Intentional infliction of emotional distress.

Hammond Police directly all media inquiries to the law firm Eichhorn & Eichhorn, LLP.

CNN called the firm and asked whether they were representing Hammond Police regarding the September incident. An unidentified woman said “that’s true and we have no comment.”

CNN attempted to contact Turner and Vicari, but was unsuccessful.

Who recorded the incident?

“That incident further magnifies what took place in Ferguson, the use of excess force that seems to be happening across the breath and width of this nation,” said NAACP Board Member John Gaskin. “As a man of color, if I’m pulled over, I will be leery of the officer and obey whatever commands they are giving me because at this point you are fearful of your life”

It was fear that led one of the children in the back seat, Joseph, 14, to begin recording the incident.

“The kids and the family had seen all the news of officers engaging in excessive force and were concerned for their safety,” family attorney Dana Kurtz told CNN affiliate WLS.

The children were “horrified,” Kurtz said. “They received glass shattered into the back seat, they had cuts in their arms. Not only were they harmed physically but they were harmed emotionally as well.”

“They were scared. Their perception of officers, of police officers who were supposed to be serving and protecting not only them, but us, everyone, has been tarnished for the rest of their lives,” Kurtz said.

‘Open dialogue’

A sentiment that judging by the recent events in Ferguson, Missouri, is echoed by many.

The August fatal shooting of Michael Brown in that city led to days of violent protests in Ferguson.

“Just because the police could do it, doesn’t mean they should. My question here is the judgment that they used smashing that window with the kid in the car and four passengers in that car if there could have been another way to get around that,” CNN law enforcement analyst Tom Fuentes said.

The mayor said he acknowledged “the importance of being sensitive to differing points of views, amongst our diverse community, in regards to actions taken by our police department.”

“As always, I will continue to encourage open dialogue on this and any issue that may affect relations between city government and members of our community,” he said.

However, he concluded, he believes “when drivers get pulled over, whether they agree with the reason for the stop or they don’t, you must comply with lawful requests of the police.”

46 comments

  • Stuart McDonald

    When police officers issue a lawful command they expect citizens to obey and they legal and constitutional right to enforce those lawful commands. Ignore a lawful command and you should expect to find yourself laying on the ground with handcuffs on.

    • bob

      If you’re going to toss around words like “constitutional” you should first know what you’re talking about. Cops do not have unlimited power to detain or question anyone they please. They first require probable cause that a crime has been committed. Then they require a warrant, unless they see a crime in progress or reasonably suspect that they must intervene to protect life or property.

      None of that was true in this case. And the man DID attempt to comply. He got guns pulled on him at that point. Having been illegally threatened with deadly weapons after complying politely it’s reasonable for them to fear for their lives. Innocent people have been shot down like dogs in that same situation, or beaten senseless.

      • John

        Watch the whole Video. He was simply asked for id. He could of showed it and been on his way. It’s his fault, the window would’ve never been broken or those children in the position they were in if he’d just identified himself. He must of had a warrant for his arrest since he didn’t want to show Id. It’s standard in traffic stops to show your drivers license. It’s not new.

      • bob

        Read the whole story. He had no driver’s license. As a U.S. citizen he is not required to carry I.D. He was not the driver.

        He lost his driver’s license because of a ticket in another case. He explained that to the officer, who could have made a quick radio call to verify it. Instead, the officer demanded that a non-existent I.D. be produced and escalated the situation. The man explained that he had a copy of the ticket to back up his story. He tried to get it. Guns were drawn. The man did everything he could to satisfy the officers, and they threatened his life.

        They escalated to the point of spraying broken glass in the faces of children as he vented his irrational rage.

        No, he did NOT have warrants. This story is all over the internet, in much greater detail. He cops had no probable cause to detain him or to demand that he exit the vehicle. This is not Nazi Germany.

      • bob

        In short: The police confiscated his I.D. and then threatened him with deadly force when he couldn’t show the I.D. that THEY TOOK FROM HIM, and which he was not legally required to carry.

        And you see no problem with that.

    • D.R.

      Are you stupid? If you are a passenger and are ordered to show identification it’s kind of hard if you don’t have any. There are no laws requiring passengers or pedestrians to carry or possess any form of identification. These people pointed that out to the officers and even told them that they had to go into a backpack to prove what they were never legally required to prove which was that they didn’t possess any identification.

      This escalated because of the views of these officers that people who are afraid for their safety can be attacked for it. The officers and the families of the officers should be ashamed. Smashing that window could have caused one of the kids to be killed if the glass strikes them just right. What would the evil family of the officers feel then?

      Love for the child’s murderer and no grief that someone not wearing a seat belt led to their clan member to kill a child whose not part of their clan

  • Dave

    Well, the driver and passenger had every right to be scared with all the bad things going on with police, especially Utah police where they shoot first ask questions later. Utah police also shoot pets if they look at them funny. That’s why I lock up my pets inside and I don’t walk outside holding anything that resembles a knife, sword or gun.

  • Lindsey

    Christy, you are required to provide identification if you are a subject in a violation if you refuse that is against the law. And yes you are required to get out of your vehicle if the officer has a lawful reason to ask you to get out. And if you place your hands where a weapon could be while disobeying a lawful order police have a right to protect themselves from whatever you may be doing. They do not have the luxury of waiting to see if its a weapon because then they would be hurt or killed. Obey a lawful order and you will be just fine.

    • BEN

      People are being shot while obeying lawful orders. How about the guy at the gas station who was asked for his license, reached into his vehicle to get it and was shot?? Black people especially, have every right to be fearful of cops and “lawful” request. These cops should have known that.

    • bob

      A passenger is not required to HAVE identification. American citizens do not have to carry “papers.”

      And he DID try to comply. They asked for I.D. He tried to get it. They pulled guns on him, threatening him with deadly force. Where did they think he kept his I.D.? If you ask for it, you should expect the man to reach for it. They were WAY out of line.

      Beyond that, there was no probable cause to detain or question him. Again, they exceeded their authority. But having pulled their guns they had to trump up some reason to make him the bad guy.

      Incredibly poor police work. But don’t believe for a second that “police work” was on their minds. Those two are notorious troublemakers, which is why they’ve been sued so many times. They look for ANY excuse to pull over black people and harass them. They enjoy it.

    • D.R.

      No its not. We are not legally required to have identification (Amish people don’t as a a matter religious doctrine) nor are we required to carry identification of any kind if we aren’t operating a motor vehicle on a public road.

      If stopped we aren’t required to show what we aren’t even required to have. At most the police can make a reasonable effort to identify you such as asking for your name and birthday. That is as far as it goes. Even then you aren’t required to give that information until the police actually arrest you for a crime that they have probable cause you committed. This was a situation where these cops threatened their life v because one of them didn’t have identification. Here is to you losing yours and being a passion a car and telling cops you don’t have it and the cops pointing a gun that misfires at you. sorry. It went off by accident but you are still dead because you lost your wallet.

    • D.R.

      Remove yourself from the physical safety of a vehicle where you could be attacked, killed or raped by deranged people you don’t know. In fact, women in many places are being told they don’t even have to toll their window all the way down and can use it as a safety tool to ensure actual rapists, serial killers and other violent people who are actual cops or impersonating cops don’t harm them.

      This family knew several things.

      1. the most serious thing they had done was not wear a seatbelt

      2. This is not a felony but is a traffic citation and not something people are arrested for

      3. The officers were asking them to exit their vehicle instead of issuing a citation

      A reasonable person must be able to infer a threat when actions exceed what would be normal or right.

      An example

      Women stopped by police should have the right to refuse to exit a vehicle when logic dictates no valid reason to exit a car for a seat belt violation since there are actual cops who have been convicted of raping women while on jobs and people have gone to prison for impersonating cops.

      For all this family knew these men weren’t really cops but we’re pedophile relatives of cops who picked up the keys and uniforms of their family members while they slept and we’re planning on kidnapping and raping their children and then killing their entire family before returning the assigned cruiser to the front yard of their family member who was a cop.

      While this is highly unlikely it does not change the fact that there are countless possibilities and unlike the cops the family didn’t sign up to take those risks.

      • bob

        Oh, I think they knew perfectly well who those two were. Everyone in the area is very much familiar with them. This isn’t their first rodeo.

        All the more reason to remain in the safety of the vehicle. But they were determined to have their fun, which is why they put down spike strips in front of, and behind, the vehicle as soon as it stopped.

        What a horribly Naziesque place that must be. These sheltered little lilly-white Utahns have no idea what reality is like, but their time is coming.

  • BEN

    These cops must not read the news. These people were scared for their lives. There were so many ways to better handle this that would have ensure the safety of the officers and the citizens. If a cop is going to ask you for your info you’re probably going to have to look for it somewhere. Don’t ask a gut for his ID then pull out a gun when he reaches into his pocket for it. Breaking the window?? Taser?? Overkill dudes. Overkill.

  • Joey Chavez

    Why was he asked to get out of the vehicle for a seat belt violation? Isn’t that kind of….weird. Cops all over the country are gunning people down especially black people & none of the officers are getting in trouble for it. We have had 2 just recently here in Utah and everyone know’s they weren’t justified but nothing has been done &probably won’t be.

  • Debbie Hudson

    I don’t think you should have to get out of your car for a seatbelt violation. The Cops these days r overstepping their bounds.

    • bob

      You don’t have to. If you are ordered out of the car then you are being detained. Police cannot detain a citizen without probable cause. And unless they reasonably suspect a crime is in progress or they are acting to protect life or property then a warrant is required.

      The man knew his rights, attempted to exercise his rights, and was tortured for it. Straight out of the Third Reich.

      It’s sad how many so-called “Americans” are automatically on board with anybody in a uniform. The Constitution was written specifically to defend us FROM the Government. It is not a document that grants unlimited power to cops. It LIMITS their power. The men who wrote that document knew this sort of thing would happen. They warned us. And we won’t listen.

  • cathy maxwell

    Wow. . And where is the ACLU this tone. Mmm..Indiana better call that state trooper back who gets sued for talking about Jesus to train these guys. .a little love goes a long way. . Unbelievable

  • bob

    He was not suspected of a crime. They had no probable cause to detain him. As a passenger he was not required to carry I.D. And when he attempted to comply with their order they pointed guns at him. (Where did they think he carried his I.D.? Taped to his forehead?)

    Read up on those two cops. This is all over the internet. Those two have already been sued four times for civil rights violations. This will make five.

    They are thugs hiding behind badges, and obviously their employer has no problem with it. Let the taxpayers cough up a million or so on their behalf and see how long they remain employed, though.

  • bob

    The man could not show his I.D. because it had been taken in a separate case. He explained that to the officers, and offered to show them his copy of the prior citation.

    At that point they could have easily verified his story by radio or by computer. They chose instead to insist that he show I.D. that he did not have.

    He reached to get the paper. They pulled guns on him.

    At that point it was obvious that he was dealing with violent, unstable men. He knew they were up to no good.

  • Corisa Ford

    What happens to those of us that can’t get out of the car? I’m scared to get pulled over. I use hand controls. If I attempted to open my door or ask them to open my door, how will an officer react?

    • bob

      Are you white? Then you have nothing to worry about.

      There is video out there of pigs assaulting handicapped people in wheelchairs, and dragging them from their cars because their legs don’t work. But the victims are all black. The pigs know better than to assault white people.

  • more of the same crap

    The video makes it clear the Thug was not complying and wasting everybody’s time …He esculated the situation by reaching all around the area under and behind his seat …By being obstinate and non cooperative the thug got himself tazed and charged ….He probably doesn’t know any better and has a history of criminal behaviour … Just a drain on working taxpayers and a danger to civilized society …..He was endangering women and children with his attitude and actions within the vehicle that was giving him a ride ….Totally discusting thug ..Hopefully they meet a judge who can think and they get the law suit thrown back in their pathetic faces …

    • bob

      He attempted to comply to their order to produce I.D. He explained that he had no I.D., and explained why. They made no attempt to verify it. Instead, they chose to demand that he produce identification that THEY TOOK FROM HIM, and which he wasn’t (as a passenger) legally required to carry in the first place.

      Then, with no probable cause to suspect a crime was being committed, they illegally attempted to detain him. When he tried to ask them WHY he was being detained they flew into a rage, splashed broken glass in the faces of young children, and tortured the man using high voltage. Straight out of the Saddam Hussein police manual.

      But sheep like you see no problem with that. You disgust me.

  • Jay

    The video makes what clear? That the cop was dead wrong in his actions! What makes you think he was a thug? Do you know him personally? You sound like an ignorant racist to me! Prejudging people without knowing them! Get a life a**hole!

    • more of the same crap

      Just listen to him and you can’t escape the conclusion he is a thug ….especially since he says he can’t provide identification as it was surrendered in another unlawful act he committed recently .Instead of complying with a lawful request by the police he refuses and stalls by axing stupid questions ..You should dig the dirt out of your ears , open your eyes and get a life you racist @$Hole

      • bob

        So you have no problem with them demanding I.D. that they know (because they took it) he doesn’t have?

        You’re a disgrace to the whole idea of “America.” Move to North Korea.

      • more of the same crap

        Bob — Don’t be so thick ….The Guy was just stalling , not co-operating , ID can come in many forms he was trying to blame law enforcement for him having no ID …Come on , that is just how a thug operates ..He was informed that a Lieutenant was present but this fellow said he wanted to talk with someone with a different shirt on .. A white shirt he wanted the Law enforcement officer to be wearing …This nonsense went on for over ten minutes with the driver and passenger playing games while another family member was filming it for further follow up game playing … If they were in such a hurry to get to a hospital then why were they wasting time with their nonsense ? Their games playing made the police rightly suspicious of them and concerned for their safety …. You are a disgrace to America by advocating wasting valuable taxpayer money by paying law enforcement to have their time wasted by such people as these two goofs …….

      • bob

        You’re as dumb as a bag of hammers. THEY TOOK HIS I.D. He explained that. The then explained that he DID have other papers that would establish his bona fides, and attempted to find them. At that point they pointed guns at him and ordered him from the vehicle.

        He did everything he could to comply. It is reasonable to assume that thugs who point guns at you for no reason mean you serious harm.

        They had no probable cause to order him from the vehicle. That is DETAINING, and it is not something the police can do on a whim.

        You are a dumb sheep.

      • bob

        Again: American citizens are not required to carry I.D. of ANY kind while passengers in a vehicle. None whatsoever. The only I.D. he could offer was his name.

        They were within their authority to ASK the passenger for identification, since he was being ticketed for not wearing a seat belt. (A concept that you probably LOVE, being fond of suckling at the genitals of authority.) But all the authority in the world cannot force the I.D. to magically appear. Especially when the same Department TOOK IT FROM HIM.

      • bob

        His “unlawful act” was having expired tags.

        This story isn’t just on Fox13, you know. There is far more information available, should you care to look.

  • Don

    First.These officers were wrong. If they saw his hand reach for something then they should of approached the vehicle in a felony position. They are clearly not fearing that this gentleman had a weapon. The officers are standing in the line of potential fire so saying he MIGHT have a weapon was BS. On a car stop your window need only be down enough to pass your info and hear the officer speak. This clearly was the case. These officers should be suspended and charged with aggravated assault. No crime was committed. No warrants and guess what no weapons. They screwed up

    • bob

      Good point. If they really WERE worried that he had a weapon then their police work was amateurish and unprofessional.

      What they did was outright illegal. Those two have already been sued four times for this kind of thing. This will be the fifth….and this time it’s on video.

      That guy is about to be very wealthy.

  • more of the same crap

    Jamal was being a complete T-U-R-D ….How do you think he would Make out in North Korea trying to pull off that garbage ?

    • bob

      You sound quite enamored of place. Why not emigrate? Their slavish obsession with authority and conformity is right up your alley.

  • Xgirl360

    I can’t remember the last time I was pulled over for a traffic violation where the officer demanded I exit the vehicle. In fact, I’ve been told numerous times to stay put. (Brother in law was a PA State Trooper) My insurance card and registration is in my glove compartment, my wallet with my driver’s license is in my purse. Both places common locations to carry a gun. All three times, the officers stood their calmly as I grabbed my documents and then issued warnings and let me go. That’s 20 years of driving as a white woman. Why would officers demand a couple of parents pulled over for not wearing seat belts. (Which btw, is a $25 fine in Indiana) Seriously, “fearing for their safety” has become the excuse of every cop caught in a bad act these days. There was no reason to fear for your safety with a family in the car with kids in the back that are dressed nicely. Citizens are not required to carry documents and if they handled this situation the same they handle traffic stops like mine, they wouldn’t be in trouble. I hope these cops lose their jobs.

  • xgirl360

    I can’t remember the last time I was pulled over for a traffic violation where the officer demanded I exit the vehicle. In fact, I’ve been told numerous times to stay put. (Brother in law was a PA State Trooper) My insurance card and registration is in my glove compartment, my wallet with my driver’s license is in my purse. Both places common locations to carry a gun. All three times, the officers stood their calmly as I grabbed my documents and then issued warnings and let me go. That’s 20 years of driving as a white woman. Why would officers demand a couple of parents pulled over for not wearing seat belts. (Which btw, is a $25 fine in Indiana) Seriously, “fearing for their safety” has become the excuse of every cop caught in a bad act these days. There was no reason to fear for your safety with a family in the car with kids in the back that are dressed nicely. Citizens are not required to carry documents and if they handled this situation the same they handle traffic stops like mine, they wouldn’t be in trouble. I hope these cops lose their jobs.

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