Gary officer indicted for deprivation of civil rights against arrestee

A former Gary police officer is facing a federal criminal charge for allegedly slamming a citizen’s head against a vehicle during an arrest.

A grand jury on Wednesday indicted Terry Peck, 46, on one charge of deprivation of rights under color of law in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Hammond. At the time of the underlying incident in March 2019, Peck was an officer with the Gary Police Department.

According to the indictment, Peck allegedly “slammed R.H.’s face and head against a vehicle without legal justification, resulting in bodily injury to R.H.” The alleged victim has been identified in news reports as Rasaan Hamilton.

Peck’s alleged actions “willfully deprived R.H. of the right, secured and protected by the Constitution and laws of the United States, to be free from unreasonable seizure, which includes the right to be free from the use of unreasonable force by a law enforcement officer,” in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 242.

Peck was fired from the Gary police in November 2020, according to The Times of Northwest Indiana.

The Times previously reported that Peck stopped Hamilton as he was leaving a McDonald’s restaurant on March 19, 2019, and “barked orders at” Hamilton before pulling him out of his car. Two other officers who arrived as backup said Peck was overly aggressive, according to the newspaper report.

If convicted, Peck faces a maximum sentence of 10 years, according to a news release from the U.S. Department of Justice.

Peck appeared before U.S. Magistrate Judge Andrew P. Rodovich on Wednesday and indicated that he would retain counsel, according to online court records. Those records did not list a lawyer for Peck as of Wednesday afternoon.

Peck’s arraignment is set for 1 p.m. Nov. 9 at the federal courthouse in Hammond. He entered a $20,000 appearance bond on Wednesday and was released on conditions including the surrender of his passport and restricting his travel to within the Northern District of Indiana.

The case is United States of America v. Peck, 2:21-cr-00149.

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