Protest calls for firing of SBPD officer accused of excessive fo - Fox 28: South Bend, Elkhart IN News, Weather, Sports

UPDATE: Protest calls for firing of SBPD officer accused of excessive force

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Local pastors and activists gathered Monday morning to call for the firing of a South Bend Police officer Aaron Knepper recently accused of excessive force.  The group "People Uniting for a Better Government" made the announcement at 10:00am outside South Bend Common Council chambers. 

Last week, Thomas Stevens was seriously injured and hospitalized after being arrested by Knepper for battery to an officer and resisting arrest. Stevens has yet to be formally charged by the county prosecutor's office and his family complained about the force used by Knepper.

Mario Sims is the spokesperson for PUBG. He said, "The people of South Bend will no longer tolerate this type of conduct from anyone in law enforcement. We have no confidence in the current administration or the current Chief." The group is looking to gather a citizens review board, which Sims notes, many cities of the same size as South Bend have, like Iowa City, IA. 

Sims noted what South Bend Police Chief Ron Teachman said last week. "He believed that the community should speak out with a moral voice. Well chief, we're doing that today," said Sims. 

PUBG cites two other pending lawsuits opened against Knepper for incidents that took place in 2013 as evidence the officer has a history of excessive force.  "As far as I'm concerned, he should have been fired after the first one!" said Sims.  "This is intolerable. He shouldn't be a police officer." PUBG says their group will respond any incidents they believe is an example of corruption in any form.

The People Uniting for a Better Government is chaired by Apostle Willie Coates, and was founded in the recent months, according to Mario Sims. He says not only will they fight for the termination of Knepper, they will also be protesting in May for the release of the South Bend police tapes to the public.

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