Lake Charles, LA — In May of 2017, then-Lake Charles Police Officer Robert Hammac initiated a traffic stop that would end with him savagely beating an unarmed and surrendering man in a fit of rage. After the incident Hammac was allowed to resign and thought he got away with it. However, earlier this year, he was finally indicted. He pleaded guilty to the charges earlier this month and now faces up to 10 years in prison.
Hammac, 45, repeatedly punched the person in the head despite the fact that “the victim was not resisting in any way or posing a threat,” according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
Hammac pleaded guilty Thursday to one count of deprivation of rights under color of law. He faces a maximum term of 10 years and a $250,000 fine when he is sentenced by U.S. Judge James D. Cain Jr. on Nov. 14.
“I saw that video and saw that it was not pretty,” Lake Charles Police Chief Shawn Caldwell, a Deputy Chief over Operations during the time of the incident, said. “I came and told Chief Dixon and he agreed that we needed to launch an internal investigation into that matter.”
“We made mistakes,” Caldwell said this week. “What we should have done was from a position of cover, ordered that driver out of the vehicle and I don’t believe any of this would have happened. We are taking steps. We are retraining and doing several things to ensure that this doesn’t happen again. Some of those absolutely are police pursuit tactics to reinforce the proper way for us to address when a pursuit ends. We have also identified and had some of our defensive tactics instructor identify other techniques for physical encounters. We have revamped our command structure. It allows me to put stronger, more qualified leadership out on the street.”
At the time, as KPLC reports, in a letter of disciplinary action to Hammac, Mayor Nic Hunter and former LCPD Police Chief Don Dixon state Hammac ‘delivered several strikes to the suspect in a “hard empty hand control” method. You [Hammac] advised in your statement that this was done to protect fellow officers from the suspect fleeing again and possibly striking an officer with his vehicle. The investigation revealed that was not probable. The strikes you delivered to the suspect were not consistent with training provided by the Lake Charles Police Department and were deemed not be “reasonable and necessary” according to the Lake Charles Police Department’s Training Division and an Internal Affairs investigation’.
The letter goes on to state that ‘Chief Dixon directed that, for this violation, you are hereby suspended for ten (10) days and ordered to attend the employee assistance program (anger management)’.
Hammac was subsequently suspended for just ten days for his role in the incident.
Before being caught on dashcam attacking an unarmed and surrendering man, in 2016, Hammac shot a pepper ball gun at a homeless person several times for no reason and laughed. After only receiving a ten day suspension for beating the driver did this information come out, at which point Hammac resigned to avoid further discipline.
He then became a gypsy cop and was hired down the road in Mississippi with the Moss Point Police Department. According to the LCPD, the Moss Point Department never bothered to call them to ask for a reference. Had they contacted his previous employer—like any company in the world would do—they would’ve known that he was not eligible to be rehired as a cop.
“Neither LCPD nor the Human Resources Department of the City of Lake Charles has a record or recollection of being contacted by the Moss Point Police Department. Immediately upon his departure, the department reflects that he is not eligible for rehire. Anyone inquiring into his rehire status would have been provided with this information,” the LCPD said in a statement.
And that, ladies and gentlemen is why there are so many problem officers out there.
“The men and women of the police department, they are not happy with this incident either,” Caldwell said. “This is not how they want to be viewed. They work very hard for the citizens of Lake Charles and they do great things from buying a kid a bicycle who’s bicycle went amiss to maybe pulling someone from a fiery house. This is not how they want to be viewed. They are going to continue to work hard for everyone and I want to reassure the public that is what we are going to do.”
Below is the video that was so over the top that a cop is now facing 10 years behind bars.