A former Streamwood police officer used excessive force when he repeatedly struck a motorist during a March 2010 traffic stop, Judge Thomas Fecarotta Jr. said Wednesday in handing down a guilty verdict.
James Mandarino, 42, now faces two to five years in prison.
"This finding sends a message that these types of offenses committed against unarmed civilians and citizens, at a breach of the public trust, will not be tolerated," said Assistant State's Attorney Michael Gerber.
Mandarino was charged with aggravated battery and official misconduct. Dash cam video showed him striking Richard Bell with his baton. Bell was left with multiple bruises and needed seven stitches to close a gash on his ear.
Bell's passenger, Nolan Stalbaum, was shot twice with Mandarino's Taser during the encounter.
"I'm not saying Mr. Bell and Mr. Stalbaum are upstanding citizens. However, if a picture is worth a thousand words, the video speaks a million," said Fecarotta. "I just can't get beyond that video."
Mandarino offered no comment and showed no emotion on his way out of court. He was able to leave the courthouse because Fecarotta denied the prosecution's motion to revoke his bond.
Prosecutors said the former officer was overly aggressive during the March 28, 2010 altercation. Mandarino's defense argued that the use of force was justified because the officer was by himself and because Bell was drunk and combative.
Streamwood's deputy police chief testified during the trial, calling Mandarino's actions "inappropriate and unnecessary." Mandarino was fired from the force three months after the incident.
Defense attorneys opted for a bench trial, meaning the verdict did not come from a jury.
Bell and Stalbaum have also filed a civil suit against the Village of Streamwood and the Streamwood Police Department.
Sentencing has been scheduled for Monday, April 25.
|James Mandarino / Streamwood Beating Trial|