Apr 16, 2010 2:55 PM
A Streamwood, Illinois police officer accused of beating a motorist with his baton is being held on $50,000 bail.
Video from Officer James Mandarino's dashboard camera appears to show him abusing the motorist despite the fact the motorist appears to be complying with the officer, prosecutors say.
"At no time during the time period when the defendant is beating the victim with his baton does the video reflect that the victim had anything in his hands, nor does the video reflect the victim making any threatening motions toward the defendant,'' Assistant Cook County State's Atty. Alexander Vroustouris said in court Thursday. "The victim is completely compliant."
The sequence went down as follows, prosecutors say Mandarino began following a suspect's car along Schaumburg Road in Streamwood for approximately 32 seconds after observing the vehicle "squealing its tires."
The car pulled into the driveway of a home and the driver got out. Officer Mandarino exited his squad car, pulled his gun and walked up to the car pointing the firearm at the man who got out. He instructed the driver to get back in. The driver complied, and stayed in the car for about 90 seconds. Mandarino then walked over to a passenger who had exited the car and used a stun gun to subdue him.
The driver then exited the car with his hands raised above his head. After approximately 10 seconds the driver put his hands behind his head and stayed that way for 90 seconds. Mandarino then approached the suspect with his baton drawn, pointing toward the ground. The suspect appears to follow his instructions and gets on his hands and knees. The officer then begins to hit the man with his baton on the back and head. The man ultimately required seven stitches to ear, multiple bruises and was treated for a concussion.
Defense attorney Ed Wanderling says the video doesn't show the whole story. He contends the vehicle refused to comply with an earlier attempt to stop along Schaumburg road, and that they were fleeing the officer. Wanderling also says that someone exited the house during the incident, and that words were exchanged during the altercation that are not audible on the tape because the dash cam has no sound.
After hearing about the incident Streamwood police turned the case over to Illinois State Police who alerted the Cook County States Attorney's office.
"It was not a long pursuit or a high speed pursuit," said Cook County State's Attorney Anita Alvarez. "This conduct is outrageous and unacceptable."
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