background_fid.png
Inform, Entertain, Inspire
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations

Former Elkhart Police Department officer pleads guilty to 2018 beating of handcuffed man

A still from the security camera footage of the incident, which was obtained and published by The South Bend Tribune and ProPublica in 2018.
Screenshot of YouTube
/
ProPublica
A still from the security camera footage of the incident, which was obtained and published by The South Bend Tribune and ProPublica in 2018.

Former Elkhart Police Department officer Cory Newland has pled guilty in a federal civil rights trial over his 2018 beating of a handcuffed man.

Newland and fellow officer Joshua Titus were indicted on state charges in 2018, after security camera footage of the incident was obtained and published by the South Bend Tribune and ProPublica as part of a broader investigation into police misconduct in Elkhart.

Federal charges followed in 2019, and the state charges were subsequently dropped.

The video shows Mario Guerrero Ledesma, who had been arrested on suspicion of domestic battery, handcuffed and sitting in a chair in the detention area of the police station.

Ledesma spits in the direction of Newland, and Titus and Newland immediately punch him in the face, knocking him backwards onto the floor. Titus and Newland then jump on top of Ledesma and hit him repeatedly.

Under the terms of the federal plea agreement, Newland admitted to the court that he knew the assault and his use of force was unjustified and unlawful. He will receive a 15-month prison sentence and pay a yet unspecified amount of restitution.

Titus’s trial in the case is scheduled for Sept. 19.

The Elkhart Police Department is a financial supporter of WVPE.

Contact Jakob at jlazzaro@wvpe.org or follow him on Twitter at @JakobLazzaro.

If you appreciate this kind of journalism on your local NPR station, please support it by donating here.

Jakob Lazzaro comes to Indiana from Chicago, where he graduated from Northwestern University in 2020 with a degree in Journalism and a double major in History. Before joining WVPE, he wrote NPR's Source of the Week e-mail newsletter, and previously worked for CalMatters, Pittsburgh's 90.5 WESA and North by Northwestern.