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Elkhart officer sentenced in 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
A still from the security camera footage of the incident, which was obtained and published by The South Bend Tribune and ProPublica in 2018. Titus is on the left in the black cap.

Joshua Titus, the second Elkhart police officer to be seen on video punching a handcuffed man was sentenced Thursday to one year in prison.

The criminal sentence comes after Titus, along with former Elkhart officer Cory Newland, were seen onvideo in 2018 punching a man who was sitting down and had his hands handcuffed behind him.

Titus pleaded guilty to the civil rights violation in March and resigned from the Elkhart police department this year after spending years on unpaid leave.

Court records indicate Titus is to be imprisoned for 12 months, followed by a year of supervised release, however it’s unclear if the sentence allows for an early release or if any of the 12-month sentence will be spent on probation.

Newland was given a 15-month sentence in December, though he spent only three months in a minimum-security prison. U.S. District Judge Philip Simon sentenced both men.

Titus and Newland were both charged in 2018 after video of the beating surfaced through an investigation by The South Bend Tribune and ProPublica.

Video from the arrest shows a man who had been in custody on suspicion of domestic battery, handcuffed and sitting in a chair in the detention area of the police station.

The man, who was arrested on suspicion of domestic battery, spits in the direction of Newland, and both officers immediately punch him in the face, knocking him backwards onto the floor. Titus and Newland then jump on top of the manand hit him repeatedly.

In his plea deal, Titus wrote "I struck [the man] repeatedly in the fact and body while [the man] was handcuffed, despite knowing that this amount of force was not reasonable under the circumstances."

Former Elkhart Police Chief Ed Wingbigler gave both Newland and Titus reprimands around five months afterword but did not suspend or demote them describing the beating as a minor incident to the Board of Public Safety. Once the video was made public, the discrepancy between Windbigler's description of the arrest and the actions of the officers led to the city suspending Windbigler, who later resigned.

Marek Mazurek has been with WVPE since April 2023, though he's been in Michiana for most of his life. He has a particular interest in public safety reporting. When he's not on the radio, Marek enjoys getting way too into Notre Dame football and reading about medieval English history.