LAKE COUNTY, Ind. (The Times) — Lake County police are pursuing criminal charges against a Lowell man accused of blocking in an Amazon truck driver to prevent her from leaving his driveway on June 12, the sheriff confirmed.
The 49-year-old man — whose identity is being withheld pending formal charges — allegedly confronted the woman that afternoon because he believed she was speeding along his half-mile-long gravel driveway, according to a Lake County sheriff’s report.
The woman, self-described as 110 pounds and dressed in her Amazon attire at the time, said the man blocked her from exiting the long driveway and came up to her delivery truck, tried to open her door and started yelling at her for speeding past his house.
She told the Times he put his hand on her door and demanded her driver’s license, so she asked if he was a cop. She said she called a dispatcher with her employer, Amazon, who advised her to call police.
She told The Times she felt threatened by the man, so she called 911 emergency dispatch.
Body camera footage of the incident reviewed by The Times shows Lake County Sheriff’s Officer John Marshall arrive to speak with the two individuals.
Once on the scene, he ordered the woman to stay in her vehicle, separating them both to avoid any arguments between the two, police records state.
The man told police he had been having issues with Amazon drivers speeding and “driving recklessly” down his driveway and that he fears for his safety, so he blocked her in with his truck.
The woman followed up by filing a citizen’s complaint the following Monday with the sheriff’s department.
She said she filed the complaint because she felt the incident was not being taken seriously by the officers on scene and that they didn’t treat her as if she was a victim of a crime.
She has retained an attorney, former Sheriff Roy Dominguez, who has questioned if his client’s case and complaint weren’t taken seriously because she is Black.
But Lake County Sheriff Oscar Martinez confirmed Tuesday that the officer involved with the case presented reports to the Lake County prosecutor Friday, seeking criminal charges in the matter.
Martinez said Tuesday that the case was being processed by the prosecutor’s office for possible felony charges.
A review of the video shows the officer firmly warning the man never to confine someone like that again, even in cases in which speeding occurs on his private property.
“That’s called criminal confinement,” the officer could be heard warning the man, according to body camera footage reviewed by The Times. “If you have a problem (with speeding in your driveway), call Amazon.”
The woman’s attorney, Dominguez, said he believes the officer should have arrested the man immediately.
“He should have been arrested, in my opinion, at that time,” Dominguez said.
Lake County Sheriff’s Department attorney John Kopack said an internal investigation determined the woman’s claims against the officer were unfounded.
“What the woman claims and what the body cam shows are totally two different things,” Sheriff Martinez said. “We feel, based on what we’ve seen, that officer did his job …”
Martinez said Marshall also made clear to the suspect that he could face criminal charges.
“In the future, don’t do it because we’re racing all the way over here,” Marshall could be heard telling the suspect in the video footage.
The man interrupted, saying, “I can tell you it wasn’t an emergency … “
“It is an emergency when you’re barricading someone from doing what they need to do, or leaving,” Marshall replied.