Streamwood police brutality trial delayed to next week

  • James Mandarino

    James Mandarino Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer

 
 
Updated 3/18/2011 10:48 PM

The Streamwood police brutality trial won't resume in court until next week.
Ed Wanderling, co-counsel to accused ex-cop James Mandarino, found out late Friday that his mother had died suddenly.

Wanderling wasn't in court today, as he was preparing for funeral services Tuesday and Wednesday. His law partner, Rick Beuke, told Judge Thomas P. Fecarotta the news and asked for the trial to resume on Monday, March 21, in Rolling Meadows. Fecarotta granted the request, and prosecutors didn't argue.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

"Of course, I would not hold him to trial in a time like this," Fecarotta said.

Monday would have been the fourth day of Mandarino's trial.

A video camera inside Mandarino's squad car in the early-morning hours of March 28, 2010, recorded the officer using his baton to beat motorist Ronald Bell after a traffic stop at Bell's driveway outside his Streamwood home. Bell was on his knees with his hands up.

Mandarino also used a Taser on one of Bell's friends, Nolan Stalbaum of Glendale Heights, a passenger in the truck. The two were coming from a union banquet in Willowbrook and a party in Carol Stream.

Mandarino faces two to five years in prison after being charged with aggravated battery and official misconduct. Streamwood fired the 42-year-old Mandarino, a 15-year veteran of the police department, after the incident. Before the incident, his record sparkled with positive employee evaluations.

His attorneys argued their client did not react with excessive violence. They said Bell and Stalbaum were threatening and drunk. Bell testified he had three alcoholic drinks and Stalbaum said he had four over the course of the night.
Officials from the fire and police departments testified last week Bell's breath had a strong smell of alcohol and he acted belligerent.

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Bell testified he reacted angrily as Mandarino's beating made him leery of trusting other uniformed police and fire officials. He was hit in the arm and head, and may have suffered a mild concussion, Bell's emergency doctor testified. The driveway was left with blood stains.

Mandarino's attorneys also said that the 16-minute video lacked sound and that it's unfair to judge what happened solely on the 11-second clip that shows the beating.

Last week, Streamwood Deputy Police Chief James Keegan said the cameras automatically turn on, but it's up to the officer to enable audio recording. Mandarino did not do so after he got out of his car, and that violated Streamwood police protocol, Keegan said.