(STL.News) – Cory Newland, 35, and Joshua Titus, 30, officers with the Elkhart, Indiana, Police Department, were indicted Thursday by a federal grand jury in Hammond for using excessive force against an arrestee.
The indictment charges Newland and Titus with a single count of deprivation of rights under color of law, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 242, for using unreasonable force against arrestee “M.L.”
According to the allegations set forth in the indictment, M.L. was brought into the booking area of the Elkhart Police Department and seated in a chair with his hands cuffed behind his back. While sitting in the chair, M.L. spat in the direction of Newland. The indictment alleges that Newland and Titus then repeatedly struck M.L. in the face, causing him to fall backwards onto the floor, at which point Newland and Titus continued to punch him repeatedly while M.L. remained handcuffed on the floor. The indictment further alleges that Newland and Titus’s actions resulted in bodily injury to M.L.
“My Office takes allegations of civil rights violations seriously, including use of excessive force by police officers sworn to uphold the law,” said U.S. Attorney Thomas L. Kirsch. “Maintaining integrity in the criminal justice system by investigating and prosecuting police officers who step out of bounds with the law, while working with, training and promoting good relationships with law enforcement who operate within the law are important functions of my Office.”
“Today’s indictments send a clear message that the FBI won’t tolerate the abuse of power or victimization of citizens by anyone in law enforcement,” said Grant Mendenhall, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Indianapolis Division. “The alleged actions by these individuals went against everything in the oath they took to serve and protect.”
This charge carries a maximum penalty of 10 years imprisonment and a $250,000 fine for both defendants. An indictment is merely an accusation and the defendants are presumed innocent unless proven guilty.
This case was investigated by FBI’s Indianapolis Field Office and is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jennifer Chang of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Indiana and Trial Attorney Zachary Dembo of the Civil Rights Division.