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Indiana family sues for excessive force after police allegedly smash car window

"I'm scared for my life," Lisa Mahone's voice is heard saying in a video

Mayra Cuevas | 10/8/2014, 11 a.m.
An Indiana family is suing a city and the local police after officers allegedly smashed a car window to stun ...
An Indiana couple filed a federal lawsuit against Hammond, Indiana police for an incident caught on camera. Officers are accused of malice and reckless indifference during a traffic stop on September 24, 2014. Hammond Police issued a response to the lawsuit saying the passenger repeatedly refused orders to produce identification and exit the vehicle. The department says the officers "Were at all times acting in the interest of officer safety and in accordance with Indiana law." (Photo from Kurtz Law Office)

— At this point Mahone is heard pleading with someone in the video. "He (Jones) is looking for his information in his book bag. When he goes into his book bag, they pull a gun out. What was the purpose of a gun? And now they ask me to open my door so I can get out. I'm scared. If you can pull out a gun in front of ... there is two kids in the back seat."

Both the Police Department and Hammond are standing by the officers.

"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," Hoyda said.

Hammond Mayor Thomas M. McDermott Jr. cited two recent police officer deaths in Indiana as the reason for heightened precautions.

"While I hope that situations like this one can be avoided in the future, I am standing solidly behind the actions of these police officers," McDermott said.

Mahone was cited for failure to wear a seat belt and a license plate reciprocity violation. Jones was arrested for failure to aid an officer, resisting law enforcement and was also cited for a seat belt violation, according to Hoyda.

Lawsuit

In a lawsuit filed this week in the Northern District Court of Indiana, Mahone, Jones and the two children accuse the city, Vicari, Turner and "other unknown officers" of excessive force, false arrest and imprisonment, assault and battery, and Intentional infliction of emotional distress.

Hammond Police directly all media inquiries to the law firm Eichhorn & Eichhorn, LLP. CNN called the firm and asked whether they were representing Hammond Police regarding the September incident. An unidentified woman said "that's true and we have no comment."

CNN attempted to contact Turner and Vicari, but was unsuccessful.

Who recorded the incident?

"That incident further magnifies what took place in Ferguson, the use of excess force that seems to be happening across the breath and width of this nation," said NAACP Board Member John Gaskin. "As a man of color, if I'm pulled over, I will be leery of the officer and obey whatever commands they are giving me because at this point you are fearful of your life"

It was fear that led one of the children in the back seat, Joseph, 14, to begin recording the incident.

"The kids and the family had seen all the news of officers engaging in excessive force and were concerned for their safety," family attorney Dana Kurtz told CNN affiliate WLS.

The children were "horrified," said Kurtz. "They received glass shattered into the back seat, they had cuts in their arms. Not only were they harmed physically but they were harmed emotionally as well."

"They were scared. Their perception of officers, of police officers who were supposed to be serving and protecting not only them, but us, everyone, has been tarnished for the rest of their lives," said Kurtz.