Elkhart residents want violence to stop

Ongoing violence in Elkhart has tensions running high between police and residents.

On July 3, an officer was hospitalized after a Chicago man he confronted beat him up.

But, witnesses claim the officer used excessive force during the arrest and was disrespectful to bystanders.

The situation's sparked a heated debate, which took center stage at a panel discussion at the Roosevelt Center Tuesday night.

Several people spoke out, expressing anger and disappointment toward Elkhart police.

Some claimed they'd seen officers target people because of their race or economic status. Others said officers don't show respect for the people they're sworn to protect.

"If the children or people see officers on a different note other than when there's trouble, I think that would help a lot more," said one panelist.

But, others said the community has to shoulder some of the responsibility for the problem.

They argued adults need to step up and help guide youth in the community down the right path.

"These are our children," said Elkhart resident Antonio Ballaid. "Get up off of your chairs, get up off of your podiums and go get them. If your child is selling drugs, go get him."

The round table discussion helped community members brainstorm ways to initiate positive changes in Elkhart. They plan to turn those ideas into action.

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