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Another Gary cop hired by former mayor charged with felonies

Updated: May 1, 2013 2:37PM



A Gary police officer has been charged in Lake Superior Court with criminal confinement, strangulation, intimidation and misdemeanor battery in a March 22 domestic dispute.

Patrolman Demonte M. Yanders, 29, is free on $4,000 cash bond posted on Wednesday, when he was arrested on the charges.

The victim, Tiffany Swaggart, told police she and Yanders got into an argument after they left Pepe’s Restaurant in Merrillville around 11:30 p.m. March 21. Yanders pulled into a gas station at 53rd and Broadway and began calling Swaggart a name, so she got out of the car and started walking toward her home on Virginia Street in Gary. Yanders drove away. About five minutes later a Lake County police officer in an unmarked squad car gave her a ride home.

After the woman drove her car into the garage to hide it from Yanders, he walked up with his gun in his hand and asked how she got home, the probable cause affidavit states. When she told him a Lake County officer gave her a ride, Yanders said she was lying and holstered his gun.

In the bedroom, Yanders struck her on the side of the face and pushed her onto the bed, grabbed her by the hair, pulled her to the floor and kept forcing her back to the floor by jerking her by the hair. He demanded her phone and keys and dumped out her purse. Swaggart ran to the door and ran outside, but Yanders followed her as she screamed for help and began running down the street. Yanders drove up in his car, said he wasn’t serious and to come back home because she had to take her children to school in the morning.

She refused to get in the car but returned home and stood on the porch because Yanders still had her keys and phone. They both went into the house and Yanders was apologetic at first, but became hostile, so Swaggart put on her coat and tried to leave to use a neighbor’s phone, but Yanders blocked the doors. Yanders grabbed her by the neck with both hands in a choke hold, pushed her back into the bedroom and told her to shut up before the kids woke up, the probable cause affidavit states.

Yanders threatened to “put that burner to you,” which she understood was slang for shooting her, court records state. He tried to apologize and wanted to get intimate, but she refused. She stayed up all night, woke her children at 7 a.m., took them to school and went to the police station to report the incident

She experienced soreness to her neck and throat. Her left eye area was swollen and sore and the white portion of her eye was bloody. Her hands and wrists are also sore. Yanders spit in her face during the incident.

Yanders, who was divorced last fall, was hired as a Gary officer in September 2009 after then-Mayor Rudy Clay and the City Council approved an ordinance to allow the police chief to hire anyone on the eligibility list. The city’s efforts to infuse more Gary residents onto the department meant the new hires were no longer those who scored highest on a battery of tests.



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