An Indiana family filed a lawsuit earlier this week against the Hammond Police Department after officers drew their guns, smashed a car window and used a Taser on a passenger during a traffic stop, NBC News reported.
“It felt like my civil rights were just thrown out the window, along with my body,” Jamal Jones said in a news conference Tuesday.
He and his girlfriend Lisa Mahone, along with her two children, were driving on Sept. 24 when police stopped and ticketed Mahone for a seat belt violation. Raw Story reports that the family was headed to a Chicago hospital, where doctors had said Mahone’s mother was near death.
The graphic encounter was videotaped by Mahone’s 14-year-old son, Joseph.
The officers first asked for identification from both adults. Mahone provided her driver’s license and proof of insurance. But, Jones, who was in the passenger seat, told police he did not have his license on him.
Shortly after, the officers drew their guns on the couple. Mahone called 911 while Jones continued to speak to the police.
The video then shows the officers breaking the passenger window and using a Taser on Jones. Afterwards, police handcuffed Jones and arrested him for resisting law enforcement and refusal to aid an officer.
“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 told WFLD-TV.
The family is suing for excessive force, false arrest and battery.
According to Raw Story, one of the officers involved in the incident has been previously named in two excessive force lawsuits that resulted in settlements paid out by the city of Hammond.
On Tuesday, Hammond police responded with the following:
"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. When the passenger displayed movements inside of the stopped vehicle that included placing his hand in places where the officer could not see, officers' concerns for their safety were heightened.”
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