Ex-Cop Who Struck Motorist: I Feared For My Safety

ROLLING MEADOWS (CBS) – He thought he was going to die. That’s what a former Streamwood police officer said on the stand Monday at his bench trial on charges that he used excessive force on a local motorist last year.

James Mandarino is charged with aggravated battery and official misconduct following a traffic stop that was captured on his dashboard camera.

In the video, Mandarino is seen striking a man some 15 times with a metal baton.

But on the stand for more than four hours, Mandarino defended his actions, CBS 2’s Vince Gerasole reports.

The ex-officer said he was in the middle of a high-risk traffic stop in which two suspects continued to ignore his dozens of orders to stay in their car after pulling into a driveway.

Mandarino said the passenger, who smelled of alcohol, kept shouting expletives at him, saying, “I don’t have to listen to you” and began to walk into the house.

Mandarino, alone and waiting for backup, testified, “I was in fear at any moment he could come out and may have a weapon with him.”

“The red flags are going off … I felt anxiety. At any moment I could be killed or seriously injured,” the five-year SWAT team veteran said.

The driver and baton victim, Ronald Bell, was treated for injuries in the arrest. It resulted in Mandarino’s dismissal from the force.

Key to the defense is the argument Bell refused repeated orders to lay prone, instead remaining in a kneeling position and resisting arrest. 

“I believed it was just a matter of time before he was going to fight me,” Mandarino said.

Mandarino was accompanied in court by his wife and mother and friends, including several police officers there for support. Closing arguments are expected Tuesday.

Mandarino faces two to five years in prison if found guilty.

  • Mr. Justice

    Mandarino is a bad cop. I support the policy, but in this case, he needs to go cease being a police office. His actions were out of line.

    • good deed

      i agreed.it shows in the video.he was the aggresive

  • Drop The Donuts

    The Mall of America is hiring or Wally World has seasonal openings, sorry folks, parks closed, moose out front should of told you.

  • What'da

    This is why our communities are out of control across the U.S.A cause cops like this are turning people, who brake the law into millionaires, citizen are waiting on the next BIG BUCKS brake to sue their local government. Once again this isn’t a rookie a SWAT member the highest respected office in the department. This kind of action is what put our Law enforcement agencies in handicap position, making it hard just to enforce commonsense laws.

  • TOM


  • Randal

    The People of Streamwood are Going to Get the Bill !

    The People Streamwood are Going to be forced into Paying for the Actions of a Super Cop that was out of Control !

    Were Talking Millions of Dollars !

    • What'da

      Rendel, your so right, but people of Streamwood well pay twice; the next time you call the police to your home cause: a case like “little bobby down the street just broken your window” with witness seeing him do it. The police going to say ‘call your insurance company it’s not worth the hassle of you going to court, we’ll talk to his parents’…but the police never make time to go there, cause the police don’t want to put up with shouting parents. Go figure…

  • Jes

    Ok somebody help me with this. At what point was this guy so out of control he needed to be beat like that?

    • what'da

      Jes Sir..

      The police job is to enforce the Laws on the books! The police isn’t the State’s Attorney who job is to prosecute an or the Judge or Jury to do the persecution, this Officer did all three jobs, maybe he was thinking, he was overpaid and need to do both…that’s, what’s out of control..

  • http://chicago.cbslocal.com/2011/03/22/suburban-officers-brutality-trial-continues/ Suburban Officer’s Brutality Trial Continues « CBS Chicago

    […] On Monday, testified that he used his stun gun on passenger Nolan Stalbaum and beat motorist Ronald … […]

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