Stacey Bell says his brother, Ronald, was fully compliant with officer James Mandarino’s orders.
By: Phil Rogers, NBC Chicago: April 16th, 2010
The brother of a man beaten by a Streamwood police officer says he pleaded with the officer to stop striking his brother, and saw no reason for the attack.
The beating was captured by the dashboard camera in officer James Mandarino’s squad car. Mandarino faces charges of aggravated battery and official misconduct.
The tape clearly shows Mandarino repeatedly striking motorist Ronald Bell with his baton, as Bell holds up his arms to fend off the blows. Prosecutors say Mandarino struck Bell 15 times, and that the assault was unprovoked.
“My brother stepped forward, got down on his knees as the video showed you, put his hands above his head quickly, and from that point forward he was assaulted,” said the victim’s brother, Stacey Bell. “He was telling him to get down, and he got down immediately. He was told to put his hands over his head, and his hands went over his head.”
Ronald Bell had just driven into his driveway, with passenger Nolan Stalbaum, at approximately 3:49 a.m. on March 28th. Mandarino reportedly had followed him, after hearing him “squeal his tires” on Schaumburg Road.
Bell’s brother says he got dressed and ran onto the front porch when he heard the noise outside. When he got there, he said he found Stalbaum laying on the porch. Prosecutors say Mandarino had twice used his Taser on Stalbaum. Bell said he heard the officer’s demands to his brother, then saw him begin striking him.
“I said, ‘He’s following your demands, I don’t understand why you’re hitting him,”‘ Bell said, adding that he himself was handcuffed and later released.
Ronald Bell was not at the press conference, even though he is the alleged victim.
“The state’s attorney has asked him, because there’s a pending criminal case, not to speak about the case,” said Bell’s attorney, Jon Loevy.
A spokesman for the Cook County State’s Attorney disputed that. She said they had merely advised Loevy that anything Bell said could be used against him.
At several times during the press conference, Loevy seemed to stop Bell’s brother from elaborating what might have been said during the moments leading up to the beating.
“Ron was completely compliant,” Loevy said. “He did everything that was asked. What the police officer did was inexcusable. He took a baton, and essentially attempted to kill Ron Bell!”
Bell’s sister-in-law Sheila Bell said he is concerned about what is now being said. “People are judging him, without seeing him, about what he might have done,” she said. “He’s very scared. He’s very nervous!”