I was made aware of the arrest of Mr. Jamal Jones yesterday, October 6th, and the circumstances surrounding the traffic stop. I watched a video of a portion of the traffic stop, the entire stop lasted 13 minutes. I have spoken to the Chief of Police about this traffic stop.
Citizens, in a similar type of situation, should simply provide the officer with proper identification if requested. The video shows the passenger escalating the situation by refusing lawful requests and reaching into a backpack in the rear of the vehicle, despite officer commands to keep his hands in plain sight for officer safety.
The driver of the vehicle, who properly showed her identification when asked to do so, received a $25 ticket for a seat-belt violation. In contrast, the passenger was arrested for Resisting Law Enforcement, Failure to Aid an Officer and a seat belt violation. By not keeping his hands in plain sight and going into a backpack in the rear of the vehicle, officer safety was threatened.
Northwest Indiana recently had two Police Officers killed in the line of duty. That is something I never want to see happen in Hammond as long as I am the Mayor, and I will legally do all I can, as Mayor, to help protect officer safety.
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. I continue to be proud that I am the mayor of a very diverse city. However, I also acknowledge the importance of being sensitive to differing points of views, amongst our diverse community, in regards to actions taken by our police department. As always, I will continue to encourage open dialogue on this and any issue that may affect relations between city government and members of our community.
I do, however, believe that when drivers get pulled over, whether they agree with the reason for the stop or they don’t, you must comply with lawful requests of the police. And, in the interest of officer safety, you must always keep your hands visible and obey officers’ commands.