CHICAGO -- It was 8:30 p.m. on March 19, 2011. Jeremy Mayers, 39, had just been at a friend's. It's a night that started harmlessly enough, but when he got pulled over, it ended with violence, tension and a night in jail.
Mayers was behind the wheel of his 1974 orange Cadillac at 65th and Cottage Grove when cops said he failed to use his turn signal. Then, they accused him of drinking and driving. A feisty Mayers refused to take a breathalyzer, so they hauled him off to the 3rd District Police Station. Jason Van Dyke, the officer charged with first-degree murder in the shooting death of Laquan McDonald, was the arresting officer that night.
"On my way to the police station , five blocks away from where I got pulled over, I put a Halls in my mouth," he said.
Maybe to conceal the booze. Mayers had downed a couple drinks that night, but maintains he was sober. He also had some weed in the car. When the then suspect refused to spit out the Halls cough drop on the way to the station, Mayers claims Van Dyke got angry and started choking him.
Then the physical and verbal abuse allegedly continued inside the station. The 6'2, 210 pound Van Dyke "forced" Mayers, he says, to take a breathalyzer anyway. On the fourth try it registered .08.
"When I finally blew that last time, that's when I blew exactly the legal limit. Then they were high-fiving each other," he said.
All of it traumatic, unnecessary and out of line, Mayers says. It upset him so much that he filled out a complaint with the police department. It was filed, taken up by the Independent Police Review Authority and later concluded that the allegations against Van Dyke were not sustained.
It is one of the 18 complaints filed against Van Dyke over his 14 years on the job. He was never once disciplined for any of them during his career.
"The way he choked me with that look in his eyes, it was a choke of hate or anger," he said.
Mayers is still digesting the murder charge against the man that he claims physically and verbally abused him four years ago. For Laquan McDonald's sake, Mayers has but one wish:
"I just hope they give him life in jail, that's all, and let him suffer."