The charges come after ProPublica and the South Bend Tribune exposed details of the abuse and published the video. “The alleged actions by these individuals went against everything in the oath they took to serve and protect,” the FBI said.
Last year, Chief Ed Windbigler said he doubted the case against the officer would stick. After the officer pleaded guilty, the chief didn’t discipline him. This year, Windbigler promoted him to detective without telling an oversight board.
The mayor disciplined the chief after revelations by the South Bend Tribune and ProPublica about the city’s troubled police force. But the mayor made no public announcement, leaving people, including the chair of the city’s civilian oversight commission, to wonder where the chief was.
At a town hall meeting, the Police Department’s second in command defended his officers and criticized reporters. “What’s all this digging?” he said, while accusing the South Bend Tribune and ProPublica of an “ambush” for calling officers to ask for their comment.
Stories by the South Bend Tribune and ProPublica revealed Elkhart police officers’ misconduct and disciplinary histories. The state police were asked to investigate, but say that’s the job of the U.S. Justice Department.
Of the 34 supervisors in the Elkhart, Indiana, Police Department, 28 have been disciplined. Fifteen have been suspended. Seven have been involved in fatal shootings. Three have been convicted of criminal charges.
On Friday, the Elkhart, Indiana, Police Department released a 30-second clip of two officers beating a man in custody. Now we have the full 30 minutes, ending with the man leaving the police station on a stretcher.
“A little overboard,” is how the police chief had previously described the officers’ actions. The decision to charge them came only after ProPublica’s Local Reporting Network demanded to see the video.
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