Police are calling this brutal and destructive reaction to a seat belt violation, justified.
A family from Hammond, Indiana was recently on their way to Stroger Hospital in Chicago, to visit a dying relative when they were attacked by police at a traffic stop.
Lisa Mahone was on the way to the hospital to visit her dying mother, her boyfriend Jamal Jones, and her two children were also in the car at the time.
The entire family was on their way to say their final goodbyes when they were pulled over by police because the Lisa was not wearing a seat belt.
When police came to the window and asked Mahone for her license and registration, she gave that information to the officers and informed them that she was on her way to the hospital with her family to visit her dying mother.
Ignoring her request, the police became aggressive, demanding that the passenger of the vehicle, Jamal Jones, also provide officers with his ID. Jones was not carrying his ID at the time, because it was taken by police in a recent encounter when he was ticketed for a traffic violation.
Regardless of his reason, passengers of vehicles should not be expected to carry identification at all times. The idea of police being able to ask any person for identification without any reason is a tenant of fascism, which is becoming more and more prevalent in American by the day.
To appease the officers, Jones attempted to give them a recent ticket he received, to prove his identity. However, when he reached for his bag, multiple officers drew their guns on the car, with two young children inside.
At that point, Mahone called 911 to demand a supervisor and her 14-year-old child began recording the incident with his cellphone from the back seat.
“I gave him my license and insurance. I also let him know at the beginning to please hurry up because my mom is about to die,” Mahone told 911.
Meanwhile, the officers began to threaten Jones, using profanity, and demanding that he exit the car. Jones told them that he meant them no harm, and requested to speak with a supervisor.
“You’re going to come out of the car one way or another. You want your kids to see you come out through the window?” the officer barked at Jones.
Terrified, the family remained in the car, hoping that their 911 call for a supervisor would be taken seriously.
After Mahone was off the phone, the officers surrounded the car and asked them to step out another time.
Mahone responded to the officers, asking, “Why do you say somebody’s not gonna hurt you? People are getting shot by the police–“
Before she was able to finish her sentence, the officers smashed through the window and tased Jones, spraying the young children in the back seats with shattered glass.
“I was just so sad. It was horrible,” said 7-year-old daughter Janiya, who was traumatized by the experience.
Police charged Jones with “resisting law enforcement and refusal to aid an officer”, but now the couple has filed a lawsuit against the Hammond police, armed with cellphone video taken by Mahone’s son.
“They had no probable cause, one, to even ask Jamal to get out of the car, or two, to engage in excessive force in tasering and arresting him,” attorney Dana Kurtz said in a statement.
The police have defended the actions of the officers, claiming that they had every right to harass the family in the manner that they did.
The Hammond police department said in a press release that:
“The Hammond police officers were at all times acting in the interest of officer safety and in accordance with Indiana law… In general, 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.”
Kurtz responded to the statement saying that, “There was absolutely no search, no nothing to suggest there was criminal activity going on. And certainly not anything that would authorize to taser someone and pull them out of the car and shatter glass into the back seat with children present.”
According to a FOX report, one of the officers involved in the attack has been involved in two prior lawsuits, both relating to the use of excessive force.