Two Indiana police officers seen on video repeatedly punching a handcuffed and defenseless man in their custody have been charged with a federal civil rights violation. Cory Newland, 35, and Joshua Titus, 30, of the Elkhart Police Department were indicted by a grand jury Thursday on a charge of depriving Mario Ledesma of his rights through excessive force.
Police surveillance video shows them punching Ledesma after he spat at Newland while sitting handcuffed in a chair at the police station in January 2018. Newland and Titus have been on leave since November and have pleaded not guilty to separate state charges. Elkhart is in northern Indiana, 100 miles east of Chicago.
In February, Mayor Tim Neese said a former federal prosecutor would conduct an assessment of the Elkhart Police Department, including use of force. A new chief was named in January after the previous police chief, Ed Windbigler, downplayed the beating.
He reprimanded the officers, saying they ‘went a little overboard.’ Both officers are facing up to ten years in jail and $250,000 fines if convicted.
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