Friday, April 16, 2010
April 16, 2010 — Chicago - A Streamwood police officer's own dashboard camera has proven to be his downfall.
Officer James Mandarino is facing charges of aggravated battery and official misconduct after he was caught on video beating an unarmed motorist.
The video, recorded March 28 after a traffic stop, shows Mandarino getting out of his squad car with his gun drawn, and approaching an SUV driven by 28 year old Ronald Bell of Streamwood.
Bell is seen with his hands up for about a minute and a half before Mandorino orders and then pulls him to the ground. The video shows Mandorino beating Bell with his baton 15 times in 13 seconds.
All the while, Bell is trying to protect himself.
He was beaten on the head, back and arms and suffered a concussion and required seven stitches to close a gash on his right ear.
Cook County State's Attorney Anita Alvarez announced the charges Thursday after a two week investigation.
"The conduct displayed on the video by this officer is not only disturbing, it's outrageous and it's unacceptable," Alvarez said.
"Every law enforcement officer holds his or her powers through the public trust and this officer's senseless act of rage against an unarmed motorist constitutes an offensive violation of that trust."
Mandorino posted bond and was released after court. The 15-year veteran with the Streamwood police has been relieved of his duties and put on paid administrative leave according to the department. As he left court reporters peppered him with questions.
"I'm not a le to make any statement at this time," Mandarino said, "my attorney advised me not to make any statements without him being present."
It was the Streamwood police who discovered the video, and reported it to the State's Attorney's office within 24 hours of the incident.
Bell was originally stopped, prosecutors said, after the officer heard him squeal his tires. He was charged with DUI and other offenses, but prosecutors have dropped all charges.
Prosecutors say what's not seen on tape is something that could lead to additional charges. Before the beating, they say Mandorino tazered a passenger in Bell's vehicle twice.
Labels:economy Collapse Meltdown Cops
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