A Chicago man has been arrested after attacking an Elkhart, Indiana, police officer on July 3 which resulted in hospitalization of the officer, according to police reports.
Cpl. Dustin Young was driving in the 100 block of West Garfield Avenue when he spotted Reese Tommy Haithcox standing in the middle of the street, where he was blocking traffic.
Young ordered Haithcox to get out of the street, and the 21-year-old replied with an expletive. The officer then got out of his car and asked Haithcox for identification, reports The Elkhart Truth.
Haithcox refused and the two began to fight, with Young being pushed to the ground and punched in the face at least 15 times, fracturing his left eye socket, according to the police report.
Haithcox also attempted to grab the officer’s gun during the altercation. As backup arrived, the suspect tried to escape, but was tackled and subdued by officers.
A cellphone video obtained by Elkhart Truth shows a tense scene as officers arrest Haithcox. Police are seen cursing and yelling at bystanders to back up.
Neighbors feel Haithcox did nothing wrong other than cross the street. Jaywalking is a criminal offense in Indiana, but it’s not harshly punishable.
Young was not issuing a ticket when he told Haithcox to move out of the street, it was just a verbal warning. The incident could’ve been prevented had Haithcox not reacted in an aggressive manner, Inquisitr notes.
“They chased the boy, tased the boy, was on the boy’s back as they handcuffed him,” Adrianna Wilson, a local resident who witnessed the arrest, told NewsCenter 16.
She added: “There’s a way to talk to people, you talk to people the way you want to be talk to. I turned back around and he had Officer Young on the ground, he was trying to get away from Officer Young.”
According to the news station, Haithcox faces preliminary charges of aggravated battery, disarming a law enforcement officer, three counts of battery on a police officer and resisting arrest. He faces two misdemeanor charges of fleeing police and obstructing traffic.
Tension between residents and the Elkhart Police Department followed the incident. Residents say that over the next several days police have upped the number of citations for minor infractions, including riding a bicycle without a bell, jaywalking and failure to use a sidewalk. Only three out of the 70 citations issued in July were given in the Garfield area of Elkhart, according to police.