A brief encounter with police apparently led to hospital stay of about four days for a South Bend man.
According to his mother, 55 year old Tom Stevens was released from the hospital over the weekend.
Stevens suffered serious injuries after a traffic stop on Sunnymede Tuesday night.
On Monday, a group of 15 community and religious leaders called for the resignation of the officer involved.
“We're not here to say what Mr. Stevens did was right or wrong, we're here to denounce the amount of force that was used against him for what was a traffic stop,” said Mario Sims with People Uniting for a Better Government, Inc.
“Absolutely he (the officer) could be innocent until proven guilty but he should also be set down and removed from active duty, until the investigation has been completed,” said PUBG member Melvin Townsend.
The officer involved in the incident was cleared to return to work on March 27th, two days after the incident.
“Of course we're complaining what if it happened to your boy, or your friend or anybody else,” said Dave Frank with People United for A Better Government. “It does bother me, he’s a 155 pound guy, I think he, what is he, 55, 60 years old, about my age, and some young guy, cop, that we’re financing, beat him to the edge of his life. That’s not a peace officer. That’s not what peace officers do.”
“Police have a right to question you,” said PUBG member Melvin Townsend. “But they don't have a right to beat you down and especially in front of your family.”
Last week, law enforcement officials had pleaded with the public to be patient and not to rush to judgment.
“But to thoroughly investigate a case, you can’t always get it right now,” said Ken Cotter, Chief Deputy St. Joseph County Prosecutor. “There are other organizations that we have to go through to gather those facts, it’s clear that Mr. Stevens went to the hospital, it takes time for us to gather information from a hospital.”
But the group of community and religious leaders has generally been disappointed with the past efforts of police to police themselves. “If the police department wants us to work with them to address violence in the community they just show us that they can first address violence within their own ranks,” said Mario Sims.
Sims suggested that South Bend set up a citizen review board that would have subpoena power and conduct parallel investigations into police actions.