Ex-Fraternal Order of Police President Who Yanked Black Motorist from Car Before Slamming His Head on Vehicle Sentenced to a Year In Prison

A federal judge has sentenced a former Indiana police officer to 366 days in prison after the ex-cop pleaded guilty to using unreasonable force during the arrest of a Black motorist stopped for an alleged traffic infraction.

According to a statement released on the case by the Department of Justice, Terry Peck will also serve a year of probation after his prison sentence for violating the man’s civil rights.

Ex-Fraternal Order of Police President Who Yanked Black Motorist from Car Before Slamming His Head on Vehicle Sentenced to a Year In Prison
Gary Police Department patrol car (Photo: Facebook/Gary Police Department)

Court records report the 48-year-old confessed to assaulting Rasaan Hamilton during a traffic stop on March 19, 2019, while working in his capacity as a Gary Police Department officer. He said that he handcuffed the arrestee and forcefully slammed his face and head against a police vehicle, resulting in a broken tooth and causing him bodily injury.

Initially, Peck was charged with the deprivation of rights under the color of law, a count that could have gotten him 10 years in prison for the crime.

The case was handled by the FBI Indianapolis Field Office, Merrillville Resident Agency, who worked to bring justice to the victim.

“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, adding, “The sentencing of this defendant makes clear that officers cannot violate people’s civil rights with impunity.”

U.S. Attorney Clifford D. Johnson for the Northern District of Indiana stressed that officers, “when interacting with members of the public, even when those public members may have engaged in criminal activity,” must always “conduct themselves within the limits of the Constitution.”

“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,” Johnson said.

Prior to his disgraceful departure from the force, records indicate that Peck received a one-day suspension in 2008 for conduct unbecoming of an officer. Additionally, in 2013, he faced a 60-day suspension without pay for violating the department’s sick leave policy.

Despite those infractions, Peck was respected by many within law enforcement and held the position of past president at the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 61 in Gary. That changed with the assault of Hamilton.

After receiving the disciplinary complaint regarding Hamilton, the Gary Police Civil Service Commission implemented action to have Peck terminated from the GPD.

Hamilton filed a federal lawsuit in 2020 against Peck and the city of Gary, seeking over $2 million in damages. His attorney, Chester Cameron Jr., said that his client has been traumatized.

“He has nightmares. He has flashbacks,” Cameron said to the NW Times.

The lawsuit claims that, aside from the assault, Hamilton was never told the reason for the stop.

According to the complaint, Peck asked for certain paperwork, but before Hamilton could provide the requested documentation, the officers responded by forcibly removing the man from the vehicle and assaulting him.

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