Indiana’s first man to be pardoned based on innocence was tried in Elkhart County. But that troubling case doesn’t stand alone. In a county known for cranking out RVs, there’s a deeper story about how justice is carried out by police, prosecutors and judges.
Reporting by ProPublica and the South Bend Tribune revealed a history of corruption and police abuse in Elkhart. This video, obtained through a public records request, shows police officers punching and kicking a handcuffed man.
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.
In Elkhart, Indiana, even easy records can be hard to get. Trial exhibits? No. Appellate briefs? No. Police reports in the court file? No. And don’t even ask about moving those boxes.
The DNA didn’t match. The witnesses weren’t sure. But the prosecution persisted.