A former officer with the Gary, Indiana, Police Department (GPD) was sentenced today to one year and a day in prison and one year of supervised release for violating the civil rights of an arrestee.
Terry Peck, 48, previously pleaded guilty to having used unreasonable force during the arrest of the victim, a man the defendant had stopped for an alleged traffic infraction.
“All people in our country have a right to be free from excessive force by police officers,” said Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. “The sentencing of this defendant makes clear that officers cannot violate people’s civil rights with impunity. The Justice Department will continue to aggressively prosecute any law enforcement officer who willfully violates the civil rights of the people they are sworn to serve and protect.”
“When interacting with members of the public, even when those public members may have engaged in criminal activity, law enforcement officers are under an obligation to conduct themselves within the limits of the Constitution,” said U.S. Attorney Clifford D. Johnson for the Northern District of Indiana. “This successful prosecution demonstrates how justice can prevail when victims and witnesses bravely report criminal misconduct by those who took an oath to serve and protect.”
“When a police officer uses excessive force, it erodes the trust between law enforcement and the community they are sworn to protect,” said Assistant Director Luis Quesada of the FBI’s Criminal Investigative Division. “The FBI and our partners will work to ensure law enforcement officers who use unreasonable force are held accountable under the law.”
According to the plea agreement, Peck admitted that, on March 19, 2019, while on duty and acting as an officer for GPD, he conducted a traffic stop and placed the driver under arrest. While the driver was handcuffed and not posing a threat to Peck or anyone around him, Peck slammed the driver’s face and head against a police vehicle, breaking the man’s tooth and causing him bodily injury.
The FBI Indianapolis Field Office, Merrillville Resident Agency investigated the case.
Trial Attorney Anita Channapati of the Civil Rights Division’s Criminal Section, Assistant U.S. Attorney Thomas McGrath and former Assistant U.S. Attorney Jennifer Chang for the Northern District of Indiana prosecuted the case.
Anyone who may have been a victim of a civil rights or hate crime violation should contact the FBI at 1-800-CALL-FBI or submit a tip to email@example.com.