What should a law enforcement officer do when someone refuses to exit a vehicle?
Thought-provoking question. In the video above, one witnesses several Indiana police officers, identified as Patrick Vicari and Charles Turner, provide a hair-raising response to that questions.
That is, they smashed the vehicle’s window, deployed a taser to stun the passenger, dragged the passenger out of the vehicle and cuffed him while he was on the ground.
The incident capture above occurred back in September during a routine traffic stop. Police stopped motorist Lisa Mahone for not wearing her seat buckle while driving in Hammond, Indiana. They asked for the ID of her passenger, Jamal Jones.
Both Jones and Mahone refused to comply with the request to exit the vehicle, arguing in a lawsuit filed Tuesday that they felt they were in “imminent danger.”
Dana Kurtz, the lawyer representing Jones and Mahone in their lawsuit, said that the “officers engaged in excessive force and were completely unreasonable,” further arguing that, “There was absolutely no basis to engage in the conduct that they did or to arrest [Jones.]”
Jones was charged with failure to aid an officer and resisting law enforcement. Mahone was given a ticket for the seatbelt and was let go.
“I’m really in a state of shock,” Mahone, who was visiting her dying mother in the hospital that day, told ABC News. “It felt like I was just like, it felt like, it felt like it was nothing but gangbangers around me.”
Meanwhile, in a statement, the Hammon Police Department said it was the officers who were fearing for their safety, which justified their use of force.
“Fearing for officer safety, the first officer ordered the passenger to show his hands and then repeatedly asked him to exit the vehicle,” the statement said. “The passenger continued to refuse to exit the vehicle after approximately thirteen minutes had elapsed and upon request by at least three different officers present at the scene of the stop.”
“Fearing 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,” the statement continued.
Though, with Mahone’s two children in the back seat, 14-year-old Joseph Ivy and 7-year-old JaNiya Ivy, it makes one wonder whether it was reasonable for the officers to fear that Jones would pull a firearm, having said that we should probably refrain from making a judgment at this point in time because all the fact are not yet known. Leave the judgment part up to the jury that will most likely decide whether or not these two officers went too far.