LIMA — The Lima Police Department released video footage Friday that shows tensions escalated quickly when police attempted to stop several young men from disturbing the public by playing loud music in the parking lot of a fast-food restaurant.
The footage from police cruisers and body cams were released following a public information request by The Lima News.
One of the participants was subdued and taken into custody after an LPD patrolman discharged his Taser.
The incident took place April 11 after LPD Patrolman Justin Wireman pulled into the parking lot at Taco Bell on Allentown Road to order food. He witnessed two vehicles in the parking lot producing the loud music and saw “several people dancing and jumping on these vehicles,” according to his written narrative. One of the individuals was wearing a full ski mask. Wireman indicated that a Taco Bell employee said the individuals were disrupting business.
Video footage shows additional officers soon arrived at the scene and were greeted with jeers and obscenities and a reluctance on the part of the young men to comply with requests to produce identification. Lima resident Jose Maldonado became aggressive toward police and was struck with a Taser fired by LPD Patrolman Scott Leudeke.
As one male was being taken into custody by police, videos show Maldonado as he attempted to come to the aid of his friend. After being told by police to “back off,” videos show Maldonado continue to aggressively approach police.
As two police officers attempted to restrain Maldonado, Leudeke can be heard on video saying, “arrest him.” Seconds later the police officer’s voice is heard telling fellow officers “he’s got his hands in his pocket.” Leudeke barks instructions to Maldonado to “get your hands out of your pocket” and the officer then immediately discharged his Taser.
Police were being peppered with obscenities throughout the incident by the young men gathered in the Taco Bell parking lot. One of those men, 22-year-old Carlos Maldonado, hurled obscenities and racial insults at police, prompting his arrest on charges of resisting arrest and disorderly conduct.
Jose Maldonado, 18, was arrested on charges of resisting arrest, resisting arrest causing physical harm, obstructing official business and disorderly conduct.
Also cited were Keith Woddell, 19, for resisting arrest, obstructing official business and disorderly conduct, and Demond Ellis, 17, for resisting arrest, disorderly conduct, the purchase or consumption of alcohol and a curfew violation.
Ellis is shown on one LPD video expressing his remorse at getting caught up in the incident.
“I regret this (obscenity). I really do. I was just being stupid, and now look at me. I’m sitting in the back of a police car.”
Lima Police Chief Kevin Martin earlier this week said he has reached out to the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office to conduct an independent probe into the incident.