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After Garfield Avenue fight between police and man, cellphone video offers more details

The video shows heated exchanges between Elkhart police and a crowd gathered on Garfield Avenue after an officer was attacked.

Posted on July 9, 2014 at 3:48 p.m.

More details have emerged about a fight on Elkhart’s south side between an Elkhart police officer and a 21-year-old man on the evening of July 3. 

A cellphone video shot by a bystander shows a tense scene on West Garfield Avenue as Elkhart police arrested Reese Tommy Haithcox. The video captures heated exchanges between police on the scene and the crowd that gathered. 

Police curse at bystanders, telling them to “back the (expletive) up” and threaten to shoot the person recording the video with a stun gun. The bystanders in turn yell insults and expletives at the officers.

The video — which includes vulgar language used by police, Haithcox and bystanders — also shows police handcuffing Haithcox between two houses and leading him to a police cruiser. Haithcox was pinned to the ground by several officers while being handcuffed.

WHAT HAPPENED?

Cpl. Dustin Young was driving in the 100 block of West Garfield Avenue when he saw Haithcox standing in the street and blocking traffic, according to a probable cause affidavit filed by police in Elkhart Superior Court 5.

Young asked Haithcox to get out of the street and Haithcox refused, swearing at the officer. Young then got out of his car and asked Haithcox for identification. After an exchange, Haithcox pushed the officer and the two began to fight, the report states. Haithcox forced Young to the ground, punched him in the face at least 15 times and tried to grab Young’s firearm, according to the document.

The report was written by Cpl. Cody Skipper, who also was at the scene.

Haithcox tried to run and tackled by the two officers. The affidavit states that police shot Haithcox twice with a stun gun as they tried to subdue him.

RESIDENTS REACT

Residents say the incident has caused increased tension between themselves and the police department. They say police retaliated over the next several days by increasing patrols in the area and issuing tickets for minor infractions like riding a bicycle without a bell and jaywalking. 

The Elkhart Police Department denied allegations that they targeted the neighborhood by increasing patrols and said officers were only in the area to respond to calls.

A copy of the full affidavit is available below. 

Haithcox Probable Cause Affidavit

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