All charges have been dropped against a Chicago-area man, who was charged last month with reckless driving and resisting arrest, after a police dashboard video showed the arresting officer beating him until he collapsed. That officer has now been charged with aggravated battery and is on administrative leave pending disciplinary action.
The incident occurred on March 28, when Ronald Bell was driving home after an evening out with friends. Officer James Mandarino allegedly saw Bell spin his tires before heading down a side street and followed the car until it pulled up outside the residence Bell shares with his brother's family.
Mandarino ordered Bell and his passenger, Nolan Stalbaum, out of their car. He then tasered Stalbaum and ordered Bell to kneel on the ground. Even though Bell complied, Mandarino began striking him repeatedly with his baton, resulting in a concussion and multiple contusions.
In the video below, Mandarino can be seen beating Bell as Bell's brother Stacey runs outside and attempts to argue with the officer. "He always had his hands in the air ... and then (the officer) just started going to town on him, beating the hell out of him," Stacey Bell told the Chicago Tribune.
"I told him he didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t have to do this," Bell explained to the Chicago Sun-Times. And he just said, 'I told him to get down.' He might have had a bad night or something going on in his personal life because he lost control."
Both men were charged with multiple misdemeanors, but the suspicions of a Streamwood Police Department official were aroused the next day after seeing a booking photo of Bell with his head bandaged. The official checked the police reports and found the dashboard video of the unprovoked attack.
In announcing the felony charges against Mandarino, Cook County StateÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Attorney Anita Alvarez called the dashboard camera "a wonderful tool" and said of the alleged beating that it was "not only disturbing. It's outrageous. It's unacceptable."
Now all charges against Bell and Stalbaum have been dropped and Mandarino is out on bail awaiting disciplinary action. "We're elated," Stacey Bell said. "If he loses his badge and loses his job and goes to jail, then I'll feel vindicated."
This video is from Sun-Times, broadcast April 15, 2010.