An investigation carried out by ProPublica and the South Bend Tribune has unearthed a disturbing video which shows police officers in Elkhart, Indiana repeatedly punching a seated, handcuffed man in the face.
The two officers in question are Cory Newland and Joshua Titus. The Elkhart Police Department announced late Friday that both men will be charged with misdemeanor battery for the incident. The department said that the men had already been disciplined for the incident, although neither man was suspended.
You can watch the video here:
Officers Newland & Tilton Attacked the Seated Man After He Spat at Them
The video was shot back in January. The man in handcuffs is Mario Guerrero Ledesma, who was arrested on January 12. The video shows Ledesma getting ready to spit at the two police officers — this apparently enraged the police, who shout a warning at him. As he actually starts to spit, the two policemen lunge at him, knocking him down onto the concrete floor. Ledesma remained handcuffed and couldn’t protect his head, which hit the ground.
The police officers then began punching Ledesma repeatedly in the face.
Finally, another officer told them to “stop,” and they did.
The Elkhart city’s civilian oversight commission investigated the incident this June, and both officers were reprimanded — but neither officer was seriously reprimanded. Police Chief Ed Windbigler said that the officers “just went a little overboard” when they knocked Ledesma down to the ground. Windbigler also wrote, in a reprimand to Newland, “I completely understand defending yourself during an altercation. However, striking a handcuffed subject in the face is not acceptable and will not be tolerated. We cannot let our emotions direct our reactions or over-reactions to situations such as this.”
The video surfaced after the South Bend Tribune, working with ProPublica, made a request for the video.