Tags: MidPoint | Indiana | police officer | window smashing | confrontation

Panelists: Window-Smashing Ind. Cop Overreacted

By    |   Thursday, 09 October 2014 05:23 PM

An Indiana police officer caught on video smashing a family's car window during an attempted traffic stop went too far, said all three panelists discussing the incident on Newsmax TV Thursday, but one panelist said the grown-ups in the car could have defused the incident by cooperating more fully with officers.

"It could have been avoided," Washington, D.C., lawyer and former Atlanta police officer Marc Harrold told "MidPoint" host Ed Berliner. Harrold was referencing the passenger, Jamal Jones, who was tasered and dragged out in an arrest filmed from the back seat by a teen-aged boy.

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The Sept. 24 confrontation is the subject of a lawsuit by the family against the Hammond, Ind., police department.

The video shows the couple — Jones and his partner, Lisa Mahone, the vehicle's driver — bickering with officers who had pulled them over for not wearing their seat belts.

"Are you going to open the door?" says one officer, who then retrieves a baton and punches in the passenger-side front window as screams erupt from inside. Mahone's daughter, 7, and son, 14, were in the back seat.

Hammond police officials have said their officers became concerned that, because the couple was not cooperative and officers could not readily see their hands, one might have been reaching for a weapon.

Mahone is heard in the video saying that she is driving to the hospital to visit her dying mother.

Harrold agreed with another "MidPoint" guest, Miami lawyer Andell Brown, that Jones, as the passenger, might have had the law on his side when he declined to follow every police command — since Jones was not the vehicle's operator and therefore, perhaps, not technically the target of the traffic stop.

Jasmyne Cannick, a Los Angeles community activist, invoked "common sense" over legalities in criticizing the officers' behavior with two children in the car.

Cannick said that "personally, I probably would have given my ID," but she sympathized with Jones' argument that he was just the passenger.

She rejected any suggestion that the couple's "attitude" might have contributed to an escalation with police.

"The police give attitude, too," Cannick said, adding that "these cops [in the video] were giving attitude."

"So we talk about how civilians treat police officers," she said. "We also have to look at how police officers treat civilians."

Miami lawyer Brown argued that Jones was wronged by the officers from start to finish, and was ultimately a victim of excessive force.

"He wasn't under arrest. He wasn't being detained, because they didn't have reasonable suspicion that he was engaged in any criminal activity," Jones said, arguing that Jones' willingness to comply with police was therefore entirely at his own discretion.

"The Supreme Court has stated that in a consensual encounter you don't have to identify yourself and you're free to walk away and leave at any time," said Brown. "It's all about consent. The officers in this case, they wanted information from him. He said no. It should have ended there."

Harrold, also a former prosecutor, said that in his days as a police officer he would have handled a similar encounter "differently."

But he added, "I can say from experience … when you're engaging anyone — regardless of how the initial encounter [seems], if their hands keep going down and you can't 100 percent see where their hands are, at that point it does turn into a situation where cops are going to start to worry."

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An Indiana police officer caught on video smashing a family's car window during an attempted traffic stop went too far, said all three panelists discussing the incident on Newsmax TV Thursday.
Indiana, police officer, window smashing, confrontation
Thursday, 09 October 2014 05:23 PM
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