ELKHART — Mayor Tim Neese has asked the Indiana State Police to investigate his city’s police force, a move that comes two weeks after criminal charges were announced against two officers who beat a handcuffed man.
Neese asked for the state police probe just as the South Bend Tribune and ProPublica prepared to publish an investigation of disciplinary matters within the Elkhart Police Department, and a week after a Tribune reporter asked the mayor about the news organizations’ findings.
Earlier this month, Elkhart police announced the two officers would be charged for punching the handcuffed man only after The Tribune asked for video that showed the beating.
On Thursday, Neese said he had asked Indiana State Police Superintendent Douglas Carter to have the agency conduct what the mayor called a “very thorough and far-reaching” investigation into not only the Jan. 12 beating depicted in the video, but also any patterns of excessive force by Elkhart police.
“The Elkhart Police Department is made up of very good officers, and I want to preserve that integrity,” Neese said after a town hall meeting Thursday evening. “But also, if there is a situation that is not becoming of an Elkhart police officer, then it’s going to get attention.”
Neese said state police investigators would work alongside the Elkhart County Prosecutor’s Office, which has been handling the criminal case against officers Cory Newland and Joshua Titus. City officials have said the two officers would be charged with misdemeanor counts of battery.
But the mayor said the state police probe would not be limited to that case. While the precise boundaries of the investigation were undetermined Thursday, Neese said he wanted the state investigators to look at “anything that relates to the Elkhart Police Department.”