Later On

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A glimpse of US police culture at work

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Christian Sheckler of the South Bend IN Tribune reports in ProPublica:

A federal grand jury has indicted two Elkhart, Indiana, police officers on civil rights charges for repeatedly punching a handcuffed man last year, U.S. prosecutors announced Friday.

Elkhart County prosecutors had originally charged the two officers, Cory Newland and Joshua Titus, with misdemeanor battery in November, after the South Bend Tribune and ProPublica learned of the incident and requested video.

The video showed Mario Guerrero Ledesma, seated and wearing handcuffs, in a detention area at the city police station in January 2018, while Newland, Titus and other officers stood nearby. At one point, Guerrero Ledesma spat toward Newland. Titus and Newland immediately punched Guerrero Ledesma in the face, causing him to fall backward onto the floor, then jumped on top of him and punched him repeatedly. Guerrero Ledesma had initially been arrested on suspicion of domestic battery.

“Today’s indictments send a clear message that the FBI won’t tolerate the abuse of power or victimization of citizens by anyone in law enforcement,” Grant Mendenhall, special agent in charge of the FBI’s Indianapolis division, said in a statement. “The alleged actions by these individuals went against everything in the oath they took to serve and protect.”

The federal indictment accuses Newland and Titus of depriving Guerrero Ledesma of his rights by using excessive force, and it alleges he was injured in the beating.

Beyond the federal indictment, the battery charges against Newland and Titus in Elkhart County also are still pending. Both officers have pleaded not guilty. Titus is scheduled for a May trial in Elkhart Superior Court. Newland is set for a round of negotiations with prosecutors in April about a possible plea agreement, according to the docket for his case in Elkhart City Court. . .

Continue reading.

One interesting note later in the article:

The Tribune and ProPublica first requested video of the beating as part of an investigation into disciplinary matters in the Elkhart Police Department. The news organizations also revealed 28 of the department’s 34 highest-ranking officers had disciplinary records, 15 had been suspended and seven had opened fire in at least one fatal shooting.

Later, the Tribune and ProPublica reported on another disciplinary case in which Windbigler, the chief at the time, had provided inaccurate or incomplete information to the civilian oversight commission.

Written by LeisureGuy

22 March 2019 at 2:41 pm

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