Deputy police chief: Ex-cop's use of baton 'unacceptable'

March 10, 2011 4:26:26 PM PST
The prosecution rested its case Thursday against a former suburban officer that prosecutors say was caught on tape beating an unarmed motorist.

James Mandarino is charged with the beating, which happened during a traffic stop in Streamwood last year.

The former Streamwood cop's attorneys promised their client will take the stand next week.

"He's anxious to get up there and explain everything that happened during that five minutes," said defense attorney Rick Beuke.

The defense said Mandarino has been unfairly judged by the 11 seconds of video shown in the media where he was seen striking Ronald Bell with a baton 15 times. Bell previously testified he was beaten while on his knees with his hands in the air.

The audioless videotape was taken from Mandarino's squad car. On Thursday, Mandarino's former boss, Streamwood Deputy Police Chief James Keegan, testified that it is against department policy to keep the audio off. Keegan said up until last year Bell received outstanding evaluations. But Keegan said after observing the videotape those evaluations would have gone from outstanding to unacceptable. He said his use of the baton was inappropriate and unnecessary.

While the deputy chief was a prosecution witness, the defense called several more Streamwood police officers to testify how Bell smelled like alcohol and how he was uncooperative towards police after the videotaped incident.

But prosecutors say the only thing that counts in the case is what's on the videotape.

If convicted, Mandarino could face two to five years in prison.

The trial will resume on Monday.