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Elkhart residents press mayor on Elkhart police excessive force case

ELKHART, Ind. -- What’s being done to address police brutality in Elkhart? That’s the question dozens of Elkhart residents showed up to a town hall meeting Tuesday night to get the answer to.

This was the last of three town hall meetings held in the last week. The public asked Elkhart Mayor Tim Neese and some Elkhart police officers questions for almost two hours.

A video showing two Elkhart police officers, Cory Newland and Joshua Titus, beating a man handcuffed to a chair back in January has many community members distraught and ready for changes.

Mayor Neese addressed their concerns about his call for an excessive force committee to investigate the department. The only people he named to serve on the committee at first were members of the department itself.

“It won’t just be police, they are going to be working jointly with the police commission, none of them are police officers,” Neese said.

He also answered questions about how the officers are being disciplined. Both are now facing criminal battery charges and are on paid administrative leave.

“Everyone is being assessed in terms of their involvement in the video,” Neese said.

Many people at the town hall meeting said they want the police officers in the video fired. Mayor’s Neese’s own son, Sgt. Drew Neese, is one of the three officers in the room when the altercation happened.

“You should have fired them on the spot, with respect to you sir, your son should have been held accountable too,” Terry Karre, an Elkhart resident said to the mayor during the meeting.

“Yes my son was there, he did not strike the gentleman but I wish this would have been handled far differently,” Neese said.

It’s clear the public wants changes in the Elkhart Police Department but as the criminal case against the officers charged plays out, the Assistant Chief of Police asked for the public’s support. He also criticized the South Bend Tribune's reporting on the department and reaffirmed his support for Police Chief Ed Windbigler at the town hall meeting. 

“Regardless of what’s reported we will be out there providing the best possible, professional service that we can.”

Since the Indiana State Police have denied Neese's request to investigate the Elkhart Police Department, he said he is looking into the feasibility of the Department of Justice investigating. 

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