This is a rather bizarre story of police brutality. An Indiana resident has filed a lawsuit against the Lynwood police department in Illinois, alleging that one of the city’s police officers used excessive force against him during an altercation last year.
On May 17, 2019, Officer Luke Tambrini approached 48-year-old Marcus Mosely, a retired federal police officer with the U.S. Transportation Department, on the side of the road as he was shuffling items in his truck. The officer’s bodycam showed Tambrini claiming that Mosley had just finished urinating in the public road.
When Mosley denied that he had relieved himself on the road, the officer ordered him to touch the liquid. “Go ahead and touch that with your finger, that little puddle of water,” he commanded.
After Mosley complied, the officer instructed: “Now lick it.” Mosley refused. “Who’s gonna lick dirt?” he replied. “You think ‘cause I’m black, I’m gonna sit here and touch some dirt, then lick it?”
Mosley then asked Tambrini to call his supervisor to the scene. The officer then informed the man that he was going to write him tickets for illegally parking and urinating in public. Mosley balked, pointing out that there was no sign indicating that parking was not allowed on that road. Tambrini claimed the sign had fallen down out of sight.
According to the lawsuit, Tambrini “needlessly escalated the situation by drawing, pointing and shooting a Taser” at Mosley. Even while the officer was tasing him multiple times, Mosley continued asking for a supervisor. The video shows Mosley stumbling while being tased when the officer issues a command to his K9 to attack him.
“Please don’t have that dog bite me,” Mosley said. The dog takes him down moments later. The man was later hospitalized after suffering bites to his left arm and shoulder that penetrated his skin, according to the suit. The authorities then charged him with aggravated unlawful use of a weapon, resisting a peace officer, and obstructing a peace officer, among other allegations.
Mosley’s attorney stated that his client stopped on the side of the road so that he could organize items in his truck and confirm that he had what was needed for his trip. The suit accuses Tambrini of conducting a “sham field investigation” in which the plaintiff was the victim of “a willful and wanton display of outrageously inhuman cruelty.”
The aggravated unlawful use of a weapon allegation was related to Mosley’s possession of a firearm, which he never used in the encounter. Moreover, he legally owns the gun.
It’s not clear whether or not race played a factor in this particular encounter. Tambrini could have been a virulent bigot, or perhaps he would have abused his power in the same way with a white citizen. However, from the video, it seems clear that he overstepped his boundaries.
Even if Mosley was urinating on the road, it does not justify this level of force. He did not make any aggressive moves toward Tambrini, and there was no indication that he was a threat. He simply asked for a supervisor because of the treatment he was receiving. The notion that an officer would tase and sic a German Shepherd on a man for merely refusing to provide identification until a supervisor arrives is absurd.
This type of behavior on the part of Tambrini is the kind that gives other officers a bad name. Most members of law enforcement are simply seeking to do their jobs while staying alive. But unfortunately, incidents such as these give ammo to the anti-police crowd and allow them to further stoke tensions between the citizenry and the police. The fact that many of these individuals are never held accountable for their actions doesn’t help either. But perhaps this incident will be different.
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