A northwest Indiana man and woman have filed a federal lawsuit against the Hammond Police Department, alleging officers used excessive force during a routine traffic stop.
The woman’s son recorded the incident on his cell phone.
CBS 2’s Jeremy Ross reports Lisa Mahone, her boyfriend Jamal Jones, and her two children were driving to John H. Stroger Jr. Hospital of Cook County on Sept. 25, after she got a call from doctors telling her that her mother was on her death bed.
Hammond police pulled their car over because Mahone was not wearing her seatbelt, according to the lawsuit.
Meantime, Mahone’s 14-year-old son Joseph was sitting in the back seat with his younger sister, and began recording the encounter with police on his cell phone.
Mahone claimed she admitted not wearing a seatbelt, and asked to be given a ticket right away, so she could get to the hospital to see her dying mother, but Hammond officers Patrick Vicari and Charles Turner demanded to see Jones’ identification.
Jones told police he did not have his ID, because he had recently been given a traffic ticket, according to the lawsuit. When he reached into the back seat to get the ticket, the officers drew their guns, and refused to take the ticket as a form of ID.
Jones said he wouldn’t get out of the car, because he was afraid for his safety after the officers pulled their guns.
“I felt like my civil rights was just going out the window, along with my body,” he said.
Watch the clip:
One of the officers can be heard telling Jones “Just so you know, we’ve got a camera recording here, you’re on a body mike, I suggest you come out of the car.”
Jones responds by asking to see a “white shirt,” meaning a supervising officer, and saying “I just gave you my information, I don’t know what’s going on right now.”
The lawsuit accuses the officers of having “no reasonable basis to believe that anyone in the vehicle was a threat. The vehicles’ windows were clear and the officers had an unobstructed view of every person within the vehicle.”
According to a statement released by Hammond Police Lt. Richard Hoyda, “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.” Attorney Dana Kurtz filed the lawsuit in federal court in Hammond.
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