Judge Convicts Streamwood Cop Of Brutality

Updated 03/23/11 – 3:55 p.m.

ROLLING MEADOWS, Ill. (CBS/WBBM) — A Cook County judge has found a former Streamwood police officer guilty of aggravated battery and official misconduct for repeatedly hitting an unarmed man with his baton last year.

Former Officer James Mandarino was caught on tape by his dashboard camera as he repeatedly struck Ronald Bell with his baton after a traffic stop on March 28, 2010. In the video, Mandarino is seen striking the man some 15 times.

As CBS 2’s Roseanne Tellez reports, Judge Thomas P. Fecarotta said Wednesday that he watched that video 50 to 60 times and found the beating “unprovoked, unnecessary and unacceptable.”

The judge found Mandarino guilty of aggravated battery and official misconduct, a day after attorneys presented their closing arguments.

“Any rational analysis will show that the conduct of the defendant was wrong, just plain wrong, unprovoked, unnecessary and unacceptable,” Fecarotta said.

Mandarino was already fired by the Streamwood Police Department, but was supported in court by many of his fellow officers.

Still, Mandarino’s claim that the two men he pulled over were agitated and aggressive didn’t hold up in the face of that video and his conviction could land him in prison for up to five years.

He has said the tape doesn’t tell the whole story.

During a six-day bench trial, Mandarino testified that he used force because he feared for his life. He said he was in the middle of a high-risk traffic stop, and that Bell and his passenger ignored his dozens of orders to stay in their car after pulling into a driveway.

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

The former officer beat Bell repeatedly with his baton as Bell knelt on the driveway.

Fecarotta said he believed that Bell and Stalbaum were drunk and not telling the whole truth about what they did, but added “if a picture speaks a thousand words, the video speaks a million.”

Bell was treated for head injuries he suffered from the beating.

Defense attorneys argued Bell refused repeated orders to lie on the ground, instead remaining in a kneeling position and resisting arrest.

During the trial, Mandarino testified that he was alone and waiting for backup after pulling the two men over, when Stalbaum went inside the home.

“I was in fear at any moment he could come out and may have a weapon with him,” Mandarino testified. “The red flags are going off … I felt anxiety. At any moment I could be killed or seriously injured.”

Bell wasn’t in the courtroom for the verdict on Wednesday. He was at work, but told relatives he was elated.

Mandarino was allowed to stay free on bond pending his sentencing hearing on April 25.

  • Raymond Prudente

    Police officers falsify their official report to cover-up their own crimes by arresting victims on false charges. They have shown little regard for people and claim they need these powers to do their jobs. Traditionally, the justice system has offered victims of police abuse limited tools for dealing with the problems of police misconduct. But these traditional remedies have done little to stem the tide of police abuses. “POLICE ABUSE REMAINS ONE OF THE MOST SERIOUS AND DIVISIVE HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS IN THE UNITED STATES”-HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH

    • Fred

      The incidents you refer to are few and far between. Not even close to the most serious rights violations in the US.

      • Realworld

        People think it’s rare because these abuses are just in recent times caught on camera. It may not happen much where you live. It’s safe there. In tha real world it’s a little different. Cops cover their abuses all tha time. Stay in your sheltered world, you might see some of real life on TV if you don’t turn away from it.

    • Sgt Friday

      this creep wil love his new cell mate big bubba, hope he knows what they do to copps and child molesters in prison….or….he can become a chicago cop, ( has showen he can do the “work” )……prison awaits, buy your ky now punk!
      Just the Facts…..

      • Derek

        Police hater.


    Wait a minute… Did he say the victim began to walk into the house? So in order to prevent this guy from getting a weapon out of his house, he beats him senseless while fearing impending retaliation. I’m not a cop hater, but this guy doesn’t have a prayer.

  • smooth

    Now all we need is a FAIR sentence to discourage any cop of excessive force. Hopefully the discipline will result in a jail sentence. Please judge just be fair about it.

    • Citizens of Cook

      In all fairness, we believe Mandarino should get at least 18 long months probation and a 175 dollar fine.

      • Gregg


      • Realworld

        Any other citizen caught on video striking someone 15 times with a baton is looking at years of jail time. If he’s black and the vic is white, he’s looking at tha max. So this cop should just get probation? Bet you wouldn’t think that if it happened to you or a family member.

  • cool down

    the law got that laww breaker on camera. if that was a black man stop by the law the police would had kill him and put grugs in his car with a gun.

    • Curious

      What’s grugs?

    • Tyrell

      If it had been a black man, he probably would have had a warrant or drugs on his person.

  • frank

    Goooood, now mybe some of the people he arrested and is in jail will see him, and beat him like he do other people, but this time he’s not hidding behind a badge, gun, mase, nor stunned gun and see who win, I can tell u it wont be that bald headed crook

    • Taxpayer

      Hopefully he’ll get special treatment in the way of security. After all, he is a cop. Maybe a private cell with cableTV . I’d be down with that.

  • real citzen pf cook

    the cop must think we can;t see what he did to that man well i am a citzen of cook and i say good bye we know this is not your first time.i hope you get the max.

  • Emil Flybatch

    Agree most other comments, cops do a lot of stupid things to people and then wonder why they don’t have respect. I think suburban cops are as bad if not worse than city counterparts. I’ve not been beat, but got a couple of really stupid tickets.Example: stopped because he thought I was drinking, I don’t drink, never have. He got insulted because I infered he had poor judgement. I got a ticket for rear wheel touching double yellow line, which it did not, but his way of imposing his authority. Very minor, but what happens when this guy is faced with a real problem. Odds are you will see just what this wipe did or maybe even worse like shoot and kill a totally naked guy like one cop did here in the burbs. ( Why kill, why not shoot him in the leg if you were concerned) Need a few more of these convictions to keep them in line too. You want respect, you earn it.

    • NWA

      I agree, more of these types of convictions are needed. But, why shoot me in the leg when they could just “tase me bro.”


      • Taxpayer

        @NigWA, I disagree, we need less of these types of convictions. Police should get the benefit of the doubt. What are you wanted for, Nig?

  • a

    Any other “citizen” would probably not get jail time for this. Have you seen who is allowed to walk the streets…this ruling is ridiculous….many, many police officers have already been killed this calendar year…of course these guys are gonna fear for their lives, point is, this OFFENDER did not listen when the officer told him to lay prone and not get up…if he would not have kept getting up and his friend had not run into the house ater they both led then officer on a vehicle chase none of this would have happened….If you were not there you cannot judge…You also cannot not know what was going on in the officer or offenders minds…..Unfortunately this judge will feel the need to make an example of this officer….but violent felons, child abusers, and murderers are released early and given “time served” every day. These offenders offend again….but lets make an example of this officer with no past record or violent history……wake up people!

    • RJ

      Unfortunately you are correct that SOME police officers have been killed this year. The REALITY is that as a percentage it is a VERY VERY VERY small number and give the nature of the job (which they know up front) the odds are VERY good that they will not get killed on the job – fire fighters have a higer risk of being killed on the job than do cops.

      BTW, 2 of the Chicago cops killed this year were killed in incidents / situations that they should not have put themselves in – one for example was killed trying to stop 3 or 4 guys from stealing his motorcycle … ? … I am sorry but he should have let them have it and reported it – but his “macho” attitude and sense of invincibility got the better of him – having worked in banking earlier in my career and several other “cash” businesses the RULE IS ALWAYS give the robbers whatever they want – that’s why you have insurance…cop or not the motocycle wasn’t worth fighting over and certainly not worth dying for…it is the advice that cops gave when they came to speak at the banks regarding what to do if robbed – hand over all the cash and don’t be a hero (many companies terminate employees for fighting with or chasing robbers), in this case the cop was off duty in street clothes – he made the WRONG decision.

  • a

    And really….the shoot him in the leg comment…or shoot the weapon out of his hand……please, please wake up…I would like to see Joe Deskjob Citizen shoot a guy in the leg or hand while they are being attacked by him. .

    • Wes

      Some people are too stupid to get it, “a”

  • RJ

    A friend of mine recently went thru the police academy in another state and told me that the instructors there literally tell the recriuts “all you have to do to get off an excessive force charge is say that you were in fear for your life” – so they are manifesting this attitude from the start.

    The guy he beat, if I recall correctly, was NOT the person who went to go into the house.

    Having had an encounter with the police in Chicago, where I had gone to the aid of someone being literally choked and begging for help/his life, and then my being treated with distain by the police I can tell you personally that I have NO respect for police any longer and would NOT believe a word that comes out of one of their mouths…they maybe here to serve and protect but it’s themselves and each other that they serve and protect NOT the public. I would advise any/everyone to NEVER ever go to the aid of anyone, just walk away (especially in Chicago or the burbs surrounding it).

  • Raymond Prudente


    CPD Officers are not concerned about police abuses and lawsuits because they do not have to pay damages themselves and their supervisors often do not know about complaints involving their officers. Its high time for CPD to review and upgrade its recruitment process to ensure that recruits were psychologically and morally fit.

    Police should be in the community to serve and protect the public and taxpayers are not paying police personnel to harass them. Finally, JUSTICE is served for victims and their families.

    Finally, JUSTICE is served to the victims and their families.

    • ChicagoCitizen

      When dealing with young smart a$$ black gang members, all bets are off. Anything goes!

      • Jamal

        Right on man, whatever it takes. Take ’em down one at a time!

  • Cops Rule

    Pass concealed carry laws for us citizens and let all of the cops off the hook. They need to be with their famililes and stop taking the blame for a scewed up society !! And then, maybe we can all cross paths with those criminals who love to victimize and then cry when they get beat at their own game !! Come and get it !!

    • Kal

      You can’t say it much better. Good job

  • Chad

    I hope that someone who he arrested & treated badly crosses his path. Good for him.

  • http://brittaj17.wordpress.com/2011/03/24/video-streamwood-police-officer-convicted-of-beating-suspect/ (video) STREAMWOOD POLICE OFFICER CONVICTED OF BEATING SUSPECT | Brittaj17's Blog
  • James

    Typical public response. Without seeing the entire video, everyone has their mind made up. The officer attempted to stop a drunk driver, he refuses to follow instructions. Then later in the video mr bell wouldn’t lay on ground even when his friend tried to get him to. Next time mr bell wants to drive drunk or maybe rob a store, you can thank our great justice system.

  • Mark McCoy

    Interestin­g. I was beaten by Fairview Heights Police in 2009 and have been trying to get the State’s Attorney to press charges. They have fraudulent­ly mishandled the case and refuse to prosecute, even with video evidence.

    In St. Clair County it is virtually impossible to have police prosecuted for criminal acts. Sometimes, it’s not only the police who are at fault, but the prosecutor­s who protect them.


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