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Hammond Family Sues Police Department After Officers Taze Man During Traffic Stop

By aaroncynic in News on Oct 7, 2014 7:30PM

2014_10_7_hammond.jpg A family from Hammond, Indiana is suing the Hammond Police department for excessive force after what should’ve been a routine traffic stop turned violent. Lisa Mahone was driving with her boyfriend Jamal Jones and her two children to Stroger Hospital when Hammond police pulled her over for not wearing a seatbelt. CBS2 reports Mahone admitted to the violation and asked for a ticket so she could continue on her way to the hospital to visit her dying mother.

Though Mahone was the operator of the vehicle and produced valid identification and proof of insurance, police demanded to see identification from Jones as well. Jones informed the officers he didn’t have ID, as he recently received a ticket. After attempting to reach into the backseat and produce the ticket from a backpack, the officers drew their guns.

Mahone’s 14-year-old son then began recording the encounter with his cell phone and Mahone dialed 911.

According to Fox Chicago
, an officer told Jones “"I don't know you and I don't know what you're going to do.” Jones told the cops “That's why I have my windows up. I'm not no harm to you right now. I got my kids in the car and you're drawing your weapon."

Police refused to take the ticket from Jones as ID and ordered him out of the vehicle. “Once the kids were scared, I wasn't gonna get out of the car and leave my kids in the car,” said Jones. “He was being so aggressive.”

While Mahone was relating the story as it happened to the 911 operator, Jones demanded to see a “white shirt,” a commanding officer. The officer on the scene told Jones “Look at my shoulder dumbass. I got bars." Video shows that after asking Jones another time if he was going to exit the car, an officer then breaks the passenger window, shocks Jones with a Tazer, then pulls him out of the car.

Warning: The video below does get violent towards the end, viewer discretion is advised.

In a statement, the Hammond Police Department defended the actions of the officers, saying:

“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."

Dana Kurtz, who is representing the family, said there was no reasonable suspicion and the officers more than overstepped their authority:

"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 Raw Story, this isn’t the first time at least one of the officers involved in the incident has used excessive force. The city of Hammond previously paid out settlements in two previous excessive force suits against the officer.