Attorney: Arrest warrant on old charge is 'retaliation' for excessive force suit

Man Tased by cop feared for family
Man Tased by cop feared for family

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Man Tased by cop feared for family 03:04

Story highlights

  • Jamal Jones and his partner are suing the city of Hammond, Indiana, and police there
  • He faces arrest on a marijuana dealing charge from 2007
  • Jones was dragged out of a car at a traffic stop in September
  • Police say he was noncompliant and they feared for their safety
A man involved in an excessive force lawsuit against police in Hammond, Indiana, faces arrest on seven-year-old marijuana charges, according to documents provided by his attorney.
Jamal Jones and his partner, Lisa Mahone, are suing the city and police after a traffic stop in which an officer smashed a window next to Jones and used a stun gun on him.
Police have said Jones refused to identify himself and repeatedly ignored requests to step out of the car after officers feared he had a weapon.
Dana Kurtz, an attorney for Jones, said the arrest warrant on a 2007 misdemeanor charge of dealing in marijuana is "retaliation."
"Jamal was unaware of the warrant but will comply with the law. The traffic stop had nothing to do with this," Kurtz said.
Officer accused of using excessive force
Officer accused of using excessive force

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'I'm not OK, I'm very scared'
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Cop in video has history of incidents
Cop in video has history of incidents

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Police smash window, stun passenger
Police smash window, stun passenger

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Hammond police didn't immediately respond to CNN's request for comment.
On September 24, two officers pulled the family over because the two front passengers -- Mahone was driving --- were not wearing seat belts.
Both police and the family argued they feared for their safety during the traffic stop, which was videotaped by a teenager in the car.
The video in question
"I'm scared for my life," Lisa Mahone says in the video. Jones is talking to officers gathered outside his door. His window is rolled down only a few inches. "I don't know what's going on," he says.
Joseph Ivy, 14, and Janiya Ivy, 7, are in the back seat. One of them holds a camera, recording the exchange.
"Are you going to open the door?" an officer asks Jones.
"How can you say they are not going to hurt you? People are getting shot by the police!" Mahone says before her voice breaks into screams as an officer smashes the passenger window. Jones joins her screams as his body convulses from the electric shock of the stun gun. Officers then pull him out of the car, handcuff him and take him away.
Fear on both sides
Minutes before the incident, Mahone was driving to the hospital to visit her dying mother when she was stopped by Hammond Police Officers Patrick Vicari and Charles Turner.
The officers placed spike strips under the car's wheels and approached Mahone.
Mahone "informed the officers that her mother was dying and that (they) were on the way to the hospital to see her before she died," the lawsuit says. "Rather than issuing Lisa (Mahone) a ticket for failure to wear a seat belt, the officers demanded that Jamal (Jones), the passenger, provide the officers with his identification as well."
But Jones didn't have any identification. He had previously turned over his license for an unrelated citation. "Jamal offered to show the officers the ticket, which had his information on it, but the officers refused," the complaint reads.
Police tell a different story.
Call to 911
Jones refused to identify himself and repeatedly ignored requests to step out of the car, Hammond Police spokesman Lt. Richard Hoyda said.
"The first officer saw the passenger inside the vehicle drop his left hand behind the center console inside of the vehicle. Fearing for officer safety, the first officer ordered the passenger to show his hands and then repeatedly asked him to exit the vehicle," Hoyda said.
Meanwhile, Mahone was on the phone with a 911 operator requesting to speak to a supervisor.
'Fear for their safety'
Mahone, Jones and the children "were in reasonable fear for their safety," the complaint says. "After a minute or two for no reason, the officers drew their weapons."
At this point Mahone is heard pleading with someone in the video. "He (Jones) is looking for his information in his book bag. When he goes into his book bag, they pull a gun out. What was the purpose of a gun? And now they ask me to open my door so I can get out. I'm scared. If you can pull out a gun in front of ... there is two kids in the back seat."
Both the police department and city officials are standing by the officers.
"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," Hoyda said.
Hammond Mayor Thomas M. McDermott Jr. cited two recent police officer deaths in Indiana as the reason for heightened precautions.
"While I hope that situations like this one can be avoided in the future, I am standing solidly behind the actions of these police officers," McDermott said.
Mahone was cited for failure to wear a seat belt and a license plate reciprocity violation. Jones was arrested and accused of failure to aid an officer, resisting law enforcement and was also cited for a seat belt violation, Hoyda said.
Lawsuit
In the lawsuit filed this week in the Northern District Court of Indiana, Mahone, Jones and the two children accuse the city, Vicari, Turner and "other unknown officers" of excessive force, false arrest and imprisonment, assault and battery, and Intentional infliction of emotional distress.
Hammond Police directed media inquiries to the law firm Eichhorn & Eichhorn. CNN called the firm and asked whether they were representing Hammond Police regarding the September incident. An unidentified woman said, "That's true and we have no comment."
CNN attempted to contact Turner and Vicari, but was unsuccessful.