Streamwood fires officer accused of police brutality

  • James Mandarino

    James Mandarino Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer

 
 
Updated 6/18/2010 11:00 AM

Streamwood has fired a police officer accused of beating a motorist March 28 without due cause.

Cpl. James Mandarino - who was charged with aggravated battery and official misconduct after investigators viewed his squad car camera's recording of him striking 28-year-old Ronald Bell of Streamwood with his baton 15 times - was fired by the village on Monday.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Village Manager Gary O'Rourke said the 41-year-old Mandarino's firing followed a lengthy internal investigation and was based on a determination of "violation of the rules and regulations of the Streamwood Police Department."

O'Rourke said the police department's own internal discipline decisions are not dependent on the outcome of the criminal case against Mandarino which is still pending in Cook County circuit court.

Mandarino's next appearance on his criminal charges is scheduled for June 30.

Stacey Bell, the brother of the alleged victim, was guardedly pleased by the news.

"We're elated to know (Mandarino's) no longer to be a police officer after his atrocious actions," Stacey Bell said. "As far as justice goes, it's a first step.

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"We're still discouraged by the fact that his fellow officers held a fundraiser for him," Stacey Bell added, referring to a police officer fundraiser for Mandarino's legal expenses last Friday in Bartlett that was not approved or endorsed by Streamwood's village or police administrators.

O'Rourke said village officials were opposed to the fundraiser but have no control over the free time of employees.

Richard Reimer, the attorney for the Metropolitan Alliance of Police which represents the rank-and-file officers of Streamwood, said the fundraiser was based on officers' anger at how quickly the Cook County state's attorney's office accused Mandarino on the basis of a video without audio.

Reimer could not be reached for comment Thursday on the union's reaction or response to Mandarino's firing.

But O'Rourke said Mandarino has already taken the first step in appealing the decision by requesting a meeting with him.

Unlike the 2½ months when Mandarino was on paid administrative leave, however, he is no longer a village employee or on the police department payroll as the appeal process proceeds.

The schedule of meetings regarding the appeal will be worked out by mutual agreement between the village and the Metropolitan Alliance of Police, O'Rourke said.

Mandarino was a Streamwood police officer for 15 years. A copy of his employment record obtained by the Daily Herald through a Freedom of Information request found only one prior reprimand for neglect of duty among many positive performance reviews and commendations.