Guilty plea in former officer’s Louisiana brutality case

Local News

LAKE CHARLES, La. (AP) — A former police officer who served in Louisiana and Mississippi pleaded guilty Thursday in a 2017 federal brutality case.

A U.S. Justice Department news release said 45-year-old Robert Hammac pleaded guilty to “deprivation of rights under color of law,” a charge stemming from a May 2017 incident when he was with Lake Charles police.

The release said police had stopped a car after a miles-long chase. The driver put his hands in the air and did not resist as officers began to pull him out of the car, but Hammac entered the car from the front passenger door, pulled the suspect into the car and beat him.

Hammac, who resigned from the Moss Point, Mississippi, police force after his April indictment in Louisiana, will be sentenced Nov. 14. He faces up to 10 years in prison.

He pleaded guilty to a one-count bill of information filed Aug. 7, which said the suspect in the 2017 incident posed no threat to himself or any other person when he was repeatedly punched in the head. The bill of information contains the same charge as the original indictment but alters the description of what happened, dropping the indictment’s reference to a Taser stun device being used.

Moss Point Police Chief Brandon Ashley told news outlets in April that, after learning of Hammac’s federal indictment, he gave Hammac the option of quitting or being fired. Hammac resigned, Ashley said. He said Hammac had worked for Moss Point for several months and had no complaints against him there.

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