ELKHART — Mayor Tim Neese and Police Chief Chris Snyder will update the public Friday on the independent review of the Elkhart Police Department that began after revelations of police brutality in 2018.
Neese and Snyder, who was appointed in January after the previous chief resigned following the revelations, will hold a press conference at 10 a.m. Friday at the Police Department.
City Council appropriated $146,800 for the review in February. Former U.S. Attorney Deborah Daniels, a partner at law firm Krieg DeVault, leads the ongoing investigation, which was charged with reviewing of complaints against police department personnel and the department’s disciplinary process, a culture assessment of the department, and reviews of use of force and the accountability, investigation, documentation and training related to use of force.
The incident that led Neese to call for an independent investigation happened on Jan. 12, 2018, when officers Cory Newland and Joshua Titus punched a handcuffed suspect to the ground at the Elkhart Police Station after the suspect spat them. After video footage of the incident was released, the officers were suspended and charged with civil rights violations. Other officers, including Neese's son, were in the room but did not immediately intervene.
The chief at the time, Ed Windbigler, told the Police Merit Commission that officers had “gone a little overboard." Video of the incident became public due to a public records request by the South Bend Tribune.
Following the video release, Neese proposed the creation of a Use of Force Review Board, which was later on the agenda of the Board of Public Safety but was dismissed due to disagreements over whether civilians should be allowed on the board. Neese, who wanted civilians, said in March that it was proving difficult to find anyone willing to serve in that capacity. He said in September that he still expects the board to be created, but that it would likely be after the completion of Daniels' review.
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