Elkhart Mayor Dick Moore spoke out Friday about a controversial arrest police made this summer that heightened neighborhood tensions.
Some people who live in the Elkhart community are calling for action to stop what they say is police harassment -- and earlier today, in a press conference, Mayor Dick Moore announced his plan.
Shannon Jefferson lives on Garfield Street where that violent incident took place. Officials say an Elkhart police officer was injured July 4 when a man he was trying to arrest on Garfield Avenue hit him.
Jefferson says the street hasn't been the same since.
"I feel like once they see more than three blacks or Hispanics in one car they automatically assume they are up to something," Jefferson says.
Moore tried to ease tensions between the police and the community by holding a news conference today.
"Officers attempted to subdued the man with a taser, he was not shot he was not clubbed, he was not beaten, he was the only one that was arrested," Moore said in reference to the incident.
Court documents say 21-year-old Reese Haithcox pushed the officer to the ground and repeatedly punched him in the face breaking his eye socket.
"Later the officer is recorded while using profanity during the crowd. I cannot accept that for a crowd controlling technique," Moore continued.
Now, Moore says the city will try to implement additional safety measures, including hiring more minority officers to reflect the diverse community.
"More black, more Hispanic police officers are good but they shouldn't just be there because of their color they should be there because of their qualifications," Moore said. "What we need to do is work with what we have. We also need to recruit more. We have a shortage of officers."
Some neighbors say more force was used than needed that day in July. And they say their street has been the target of excessive citations after the incident.
"The police need to have more presence, but more of a communal presence -- not just protecting the streets but get out and interact with the people," Jefferson says.
For Jefferson, he hopes the tension lifts between police and neighbors, but says he's been dealing with this sort of thing his whole life.
"I feel like everywhere I go there's a stereotype because I'm an African American male," he said.
Mayor Moore says the Elkhart police will be using a new tool, vest cameras, when patrolling the city that will show exactly what happens day to day.
The cameras are expected to cost around $40,000.