A former Lake Charles police officer pleaded guilty in federal court Thursday to using excessive force during a 2017 arrest.
Robert Hammac, 45, pleaded guilty to a single count of deprivation of rights under color of law before U.S. District Judge James D. Cain Jr.
According to court documents, Hammac was involved in a vehicle pursuit on May 8, 2017, that lasted for several miles. After police stopped the car, the driver raised his hands into the air to surrender and did not resist as officers began to pull him out of the car.
Hammac then "ran to the front passenger side door, opened it, grabbed (the man) before he could exit, pulled him back into the car, and repeatedly punched (his) head with a closed fist," the documents read. "The victim was not resisting in any way or posing a threat."
Hammac, who later joined the Moss Point, Miss., police force, was indicted April 10 in Louisiana.
"Police officers respond to challenging and dynamic situations every day," FBI Acting Special Agent in Charge Andrew Anderson said in a news release to the American Press. "They are trained to maintain professionalism and adhere to standards of conduct in any situation. In this instance, the officer did not apply his training and violated the constitutional rights of the victim. Instances such as this are unacceptable and will continue to be high priority investigations of the FBI."
Hammac faces a maximum term of imprisonment of 10 years and a $250,000 fine.
His sentencing has been set for Nov. 14.
"The vast majority of law enforcement officers perform their difficult and dangerous duties with integrity and courage," said U.S. Attorney David C. Joseph.
"However, law enforcement officers who betray the badge and the public's trust, as the defendant did here, also dishonor their profession and their fellow officers."