(Content Warning: Language)
Police in Hammond, IN, are facing allegations of excessive force following the release of a video illustrating how quickly a routine traffic stop can take a violent turn. Lisa Mahone, her boyfriend, Jamal Jones, and her two children, ages 14 and 7, were on their way to visit Mahone’s dying mother in the hospital when officers pulled over Mahone to issue her a citation for not wearing a seatbelt. Mahone complied, and all was good — until the officers requested identification from Jones as well. During the video, which was captured from the backseat of the vehicle by Mahone’s son, Mahone can be heard pleading with 911 for help: “I am scared. And the man — pulled a gun out. A gun! Why do my kids have to see that.” When officers repeatedly asked Jones to step out of the vehicle, he refused to do so. Several minutes later they can be seen smashing through the passenger window and using a taser to forcibly remove Jones from the car and onto the ground. It is these actions that have led the family to file a federal lawsuit against both officers and the City of Hammond. Jones explained that the officers’ demeanor gave him a concern of imminent danger.