In October, a video of police in Hammond, Indiana, smashing open a car window and using a stun gun on a man in the car’s front passenger seat became a national news story. The vehicle had been stopped because its driver, Lisa Mahone, was not wearing a seat belt, and the video was shot by one of her children in the back seat. The man being stunned, Jamal Jones, had told officers he was not carrying a driver’s license and refused to get out of the car; he was cited for “resisting law enforcement, failure to aid an officer and not wearing a seat belt.” Mahone and Jones filed a lawsuit and appeared on the Today show; the two officers involved were placed on limited duty.
It was with significantly less fanfare on Nov. 24 that the mayor of Hammond announced he’d reinstated the officers to regular duty because they’d been “cleared” by an FBI investigation—only for the FBI to respond that it had done no such thing. From NWI.com:
“The matter is still under investigation,” said Bob Ramsey, FBI Supervisory Special Agent with the Merrillville office of the law enforcement agency. He declined to put a timeline on the completion of the examination.
He said the FBI is still “actively gathering information” and conducting an ongoing review.
Ramsey said the FBI would not have “cleared” the officers for duty even if the investigation into whether Mahone and Jones’ civil rights were violated had been complete, calling the issue “a personnel decision for the city to make,” in NWI.com’s words.
Here’s the video.
One of the Hammond officers involved, Patrick Vicari, has previously been named as a defendent in five other lawsuits alleging inappropriate behavior. One was dismissed, one is pending, and the three others were settled out of court for a total of $181,850.