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Officer injured as traffic stop escalates to violence

Patrolman attacked by boy not involved in stop.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010 - 10:16 am

A Fort Wayne Police officer was beaten by a “mouthy” juvenile Monday during a traffic stop.

Officer Stephen Ealing, a patrolman of just over a year, was admitted to Parkview Hospital for upper-body injuries sustained when he was allegedly attacked by a boy during a traffic stop on the city's southeast side.

Ealing had pulled over two youths on a mo-ped near the intersection of Hessen Cassel Road and Ashcroft Drive just before 5 p.m. when a group of four approached and began talking to the suspects, according to Officer Deborah Joyner's incident report. When Ealing told the group to back away until he was finished with the stop, a juvenile in the group yelled at him, “(expletive) you,” Joyner wrote.

Ealing told Joyner the boy was “mouthy” as Ealing turned his attention toward him and demanded identification. The boy refused, Ealing said, and Ealing instructed the boy to put his hands on the car, Joyner wrote.

As Ealing was patting the boy down, Ealing told Joyner the boy elbowed him in the mouth, the report said.

Ealing then called for backup and pepper-sprayed the boy, sending him face-down to the ground, the report said. As Ealing was attempting to handcuff the boy, however, he rose with Ealing on his back. The boy then lifted Ealing over his head and tossed him head-first onto the road, the report said.

The group fled, leaving Ealing struggling to breathe and bleeding from the back of his head, Joyner wrote.

One of the boys on the mo-ped told police it was his brother who assaulted Ealing and provided officers with his home address.

As Ealing was being transported to Parkview Hospital, police went to a home on Sherrill Drive, two blocks east of the incident. The boy's mother told officers she did not know her son's whereabouts, but officers found the boy inside the home.

The boy ran from officers but was apprehended quickly. Officers did use a Taser on the boy twice before he could be handcuffed and arrested, a report said.

The News-Sentinel is not identifying the boy because he is a juvenile. He was taken to the Allen County Juvenile Center on unknown charges.

Ealing was released Monday from Parkview Hospital. Police spokeswoman Raquel Foster said Tuesday that Ealing suffered injuries to his shoulder and ribs during the incident, but could not comment on the severity of the injuries.

On Ealing's Facebook page, though, the officer said he had a broken clavicle and four broken ribs.

On Tuesday, Ealing expressed gratitude to his fellow officers for coming to his aid and for arresting the suspect. “Thanks to my great co-workers for their quick response to my call for help and for finding the young man who left me in the street with a broken clavicle and four broken ribs,” Ealing wrote. “You guys really are the best in the business!”