HAMMOND, Ind. (AP) — A cellphone video released Tuesday shows police in Indiana breaking a car window then using a stun gun on a man after police stopped the driver for not wearing a seat belt.
The video, recorded by the driver's 14-year-old son, captured a Sept. 24 confrontation between two adults in the car and police that's the basis of a lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court against several officers and the city of Hammond. After police pulled over the driver, Lisa Mahone, officers demanded that passenger Jamal Jones produce identification — something the lawsuit says Jones did not have with him.
The video shows an officer breaking the front passenger window with a club, with shards of glass showering the vehicle's four occupants, including Mahone's son and daughter in the back seat. An officer then shocked Jones with a stun gun.
Before that, Mahone could be heard saying she's scared after officers pulled a gun on them. The lawsuit says Mahone called 911 when she became concerned about the officers' actions.
"The officers from Hammond Police Department escalated the incident without any basis and without any cause," attorney Dana Kurtz said during a news conference Tuesday.
Hammond police spokesman Lt. Richard Hoyda did not immediately return a call seeking comment but issued a statement saying Jones had refused to comply with orders to get out of the car and that officers were concerned for their safety after seeing him "repeatedly reach towards the rear seats of the vehicle."
Police said Jones was arrested for failure to aid an officer and resisting law enforcement.
According to the lawsuit, Jones had surrendered his driver's license after being stopped for not paying his insurance and instead tried to show the officers a ticket with his information on it. The lawsuit says the officers rejected the ticket, but police said Jones had refused to hand it over.
The complaint alleges officers shocked Jones a second time after removing him from the car.
The lawsuit alleges excessive force, false arrest, assault and battery and other charges. It seeks unspecified damages.
The lawsuit mentions that two of the officers had been sued in the past for excessive force or unlawful arrest. Court records indicate an undisclosed settlement in one of the cases.