Pair Alleging Excessive Force by Police During Traffic Stop 'in State of Shock'

The Hammond Police Department claims officers feared for their own safety.

ByABC News
October 7, 2014, 5:31 PM

— -- Two people are suing the Hammond, Indiana, police after claiming video shows a routine traffic stop turning "highly aggressive" with officers shattering a car window and using a stun gun on a passenger.

During a news conference with lawyer Dana Kurtz today, Lisa Mahone and Jamal Jones said their "civil rights [were] just thrown out the window."

"I'm really in a state of shock," said Mahone, who had been traveling to the hospital to see her dying mother when she was pulled over. "It felt like I was just like, it felt like, it felt like it was nothing but gangbangers around me."

Her mother has since died. According to court documents, Mahone said she was pulled over by police Sept. 24 for not wearing her seatbelt. Inside the car was Jones in the passenger seat and Mahone's children -- Joseph Ivy, 14, and JaNiya Ivy, 7 -- in the back seat.

Joseph Ivy captured the incident on his cellphone as Mahone talked to 911 dispatch.

Mahone and Jones allege in their complaint that Officers Patrick Vicari and Charles Turner were "highly aggressive" during the traffic stop. They said the officers requested Mahone's identification but also Jones'. Because he did not have a driver's license, according to the complaint, Jones offered a piece of paper that included his information but the officers declined.

According to the complaint, when Jones refused to leave the vehicle because he and Mahone felt they were in "imminent danger," officers smashed the passenger-side window and used a stun gun on him.

Jones was arrested and later charged with resisting law enforcement. Mahone received a citation for not wearing her seatbelt and was let go.

Kurtz, their lawyer, said the officers had no right to ask Jones to exit the car unless they had probable cause. "These officers engaged in excessive force and were completely unreasonable," Kurtz said today. "There was absolutely no basis to engage in the conduct that they did or to arrest [Jones.]"

In a statement, the Hammond Police Department said the first officer during the traffic stop had seen the passenger in the car "drop his left hand behind the center console."

"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 said.

The complaint stated that Vicari and Turner had been named in four previous federal lawsuits – three for Vicari; and Turner, one -- involving "the use of excessive force against citizens and arresting citizens without probable cause."

ABC News was not able to reach Vicari, Turner or the police department for comment.

Confidential settlements ended the previous litigation. In each case, the city and the individual officers denied the allegations prior to settlement.

In an emailed statement today, Kristina Kantar, a lawyer for the city of Hammond, said: "The Hammond Police Department statement issued yesterday is the City’s statement of events, as there is pending litigation I cannot comment any further about any other matters."