After Garfield Avenue fight, Elkhart Police consider launching internal affairs investigation

The Elkhart Police Department is reviewing officers’ behavior in the July 3 incident, but said it does not yet know if it will launch an official internal affairs investigation.

Posted on July 11, 2014 at 6:04 p.m.

Officials within the Elkhart Police Department are considering whether to launch an internal affairs investigation in connection to a fight that broke out between a police officer and a citizen last week.

The investigation — should one be launched — will focus on a July 3 incident in which Reese T. Haithcox, 21, of Chicago, punched Cpl. Dustin Young at least 15 times in the face, fracturing his eye socket, as reported by court documents filed with Elkhart Superior Court 5. The fight happened on the 100 block of West Garfield Avenue and was initiated after police say Haithcox was standing in the middle of the street, obstructing traffic.

Cellphone video taken by a bystander shows several officers trying to control a crowd that gathered near where the fight happened. Both the police and residents shout profanities as officers demand that crowds move away from the scene. 

After the fight, residents in the area say police swarmed the neighborhood for the rest of the Fourth of July weekend, harassing them and issuing tickets for minor infractions like jaywalking and riding a bicycle without a bell.

An official review can only be launched if a formal complaint is filed, according to Lt. Mike Sigsbee, the department’s internal affairs investigator and public information officer. A citizen has not filed a complaint but Sigsbee said the administration is considering filing its own complaint. 

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