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Former Indiana Police Officer Indicted for Assaulting an Arrestee

WASHINGTON – Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division Rena J. Comisac today announced that a former Gary Police Department officer was indicted in federal district court in Hammond, Ind., on charges that he assaulted an arrestee and falsified a police report.

The indictment charges that on Sept. 11, 2005, Robert Irving, 35, while acting in his capacity as a police officer of the Gary Police Department, used excessive force by assaulting an arrestee at Northlake Methodist Hospital and again late that same night in the booking room of the Gary Police Department. The indictment alleges that the arrestee suffered bodily injury as a result of the assaults. In addition to two civil rights counts, one for each of the assaults, the indictment includes an obstruction of justice count alleging that Irving knowingly falsified a police report in relation to, or in contemplation of, a matter within the jurisdiction of a federal agency.

The civil rights charges alleged in the indictment carry a maximum penalty of 10 years imprisonment and the obstruction of justice charge carries a maximum penalty of 20 years imprisonment. In addition, each charge carries a maximum fine of $250,000, up to three years supervised release, and a $100 special assessment.

The case is being prosecuted by the Civil Rights Division with the assistance of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Indiana.

The Civil Rights Division is committed to the aggressive enforcement of the nation’s civil rights laws. In the past seven years of this Administration, the Division has convicted over 50 percent more defendants for law enforcement misconduct violations than in the previous seven years. Last year, the Division convicted 189 defendants for civil rights violations, which is a record number in the 50-year history of the Division. Last year’s record broke the record set in 2006.

An indictment is merely an allegation and a defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.