Lisa Mahone was on the way to see her mother at John H. Stroger Jr. Hospital of Cook County when she was pulled over for a seat belt violation by Hammond [IL] Police officers. She also had her boyfriend, Jamal Jones, and two kids in the back seat. The video above shows how that traffic stop ended. During the course of the 20 minute traffic stop, Mahone spent time on the phone with 911 operators explaining that she was in fear of her life because the cops pulled their guns on the family.
“I’m scared for my life,” Mahone is heard on the video telling a 911 dispatcher with officers looming outside. “He just pulled a gun on us and we don’t have a gun.”Source: 5NBC Chicago
The guns were pulled when officers asked Jones to produce ID and he reached into the center console of the car in what I guess was him retrieving that requested ID. The officers claimed that they were fearful that he was reaching for a weapon, so they drew their guns. Now, where have we heard that one before? Yeah, South Carolina.
With guns drawn on them, Jones claimed to be afraid to exit the vehicle because he didn’t know what was going to happen. Given the high profile police shootings of unarmed Black men recently, there may indeed be some justification for that fear. That said, there doesn’t appear to be much of a sympathetic ear amongst the law enforcement community. Why do I say that, let’s compare this traffic stop with another one involving a seat belt infraction.
EMMETT TOWNSHIP, Mich. — He could have given her a ticket and a fine, but a public safety officer from Emmett Township, Michigan chose a different route when he stopped the driver.
Officer Ben Hall was on his patrol when he pulled the vehicle over for a traffic violation.
When he talked with the driver, he noticed a small child in the car who was wearing a seat belt but not in a child’s car seat.
The young mother told the Officer she understood the importance of having a child in a car seat, but could not afford one because of her limited income at the time.
Rather than giving the young mother a traffic ticket, Officer Hall had the mother pull into a Walmart parking lot, where he went inside and purchased a car seat for her daughter.
Officer Hall is being hailed by many for considering the moment and doing a good deed.Source: WREG3 CBS Memphis
Sp, what is the difference between these two stops? Could the Hammond stop been handled differently? I guess that depends on who you ask. The police do face the threat of people turning weapons against them in quick order. They have to be ready to deal with any threat they may encounter. Sometimes, the threat rises with the way people are treated. According to Lt Richard Hoyda of the Hammond Police:
Source: 5NBC Chicago
“In general, 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, Hammond Police Lt. Richard Hoyda said in a statement.
Hoyda added that officers feared for their own safety because one officer said he saw Jones drop his hands behind the center console of the vehicle. They removed him after repeated requests to exit the vehicle and after they say Mahone “shifted her car into drive and moved her vehicle in a forward motion.
Is it a training issue where people are approached differently based on the situation? I don’t want to make this a racial issue as there are people treated like this across the board. However, the cases that make the news typically involves Black people getting stopped by the police.
Will I have guns drawn on me while complying with an officer’s request to produce my ID? I don’t think I should fear the very people who are sworn to protect my safety, but there are a few instances that make me really wonder about this. I’ll have to get me a suction cup and clip to attach my license to my window before I leave my driveway from now on. That way, I’ll have at least one potential problem mitigated if I happen to get pulled over.