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Opening Arguments

Caught on tape

A police-stop incident in Hammond is getting a lot of play everywhere, probably because there is a video of the whole ugly encounter (see here) shot by a teenager in the back seat. The cops stop the car which includes a woman driver, a male passenger and two kids in the back seat, because the two adults in the front seat aren't wearing seat belts. The situation quickly escalates to the point where one of the cops busts out the passenger-side front windo with his baton, tases the guy and drags him out to handcuff him and haul him away.

Both sides say they feared for their safety during the encounter, which I think is probably right. This is what tips things in favor of people in the car, I think:

On the Sept. 24 video, Mahone is heard talking to a 911 dispatcher, while police stand outside her car, demanding identification from Jones. The man hands over various pieces of paper through a cracked window, but argues with officers about getting out of the car, saying there were kids in the back and he didn't want to exit the vehicle because officers had already pointed a gun at him.

If a cop pulls a gun moments after a routine traffic stop, it seems pretty reasonable for the people inside the car to be afraid to get out. But watch the video and make up your own mind.

Good thing the kid in the back seat had a phone with a camera in it. If the cops aren't going to wear body cameras, maybe we should.

Oh, and fasten your damn seat belts.