Margate, FL — Officer Andrew Hammock, who has been with the Margate police department for nearly two decades, was arrested in front of his peers at the police station this week. He stands accused of sending photos of his genitals to a child. He was caught, however, because that "child" was actually an undercover FBI agent.
According to the Margate police department, Hammock, 46, was arrested on Tuesday and charged with soliciting sexually explicit images from a minor. He'd been attempting to lure a 14-year-old child for sex, nude photos, and was also sending her photos of his genitals.
As the Miami Herald reports:
Federal authorities began investigating Hammock, who has been with the police force since 2002, in mid-February. An undercover agent had spotted the officer’s post on an app that’s often used to find individuals for in-person sexual encounters.
Posing as 14-year-old girl, the agent talked with Hammock for roughly a month. Most of their conversations included three elements: various allusions to sexual activity, the officer admitting he was aroused and the undercover agent repeatedly emphasizing the age difference.
“Let’s not make age an issue. I think you’re hot,” Hammock wrote to the child, according to the criminal complaint.
Despite being married himself, Hammock pestered the girl for weeks to send him nude images, according to the complaint.
According to federal documents, an undercover FBI agent answered a social media posting from “Playful_guy” that read “feel like peeking and being peeked at by a younger girl.” The agent pretended to be a 14-year-old girl and communicated with Hammock.
According to the documents, Hammock had no problem telling the would-be child that he was 46, married, and a police officer.
“You are perfect and exactly my dream girl,” he told her.
“Just be more open minded,” he urged. “If you’re willing to be seen half naked at beach, don’t be afraid to let me see a little of you.”
After this alleged child predator was arrested, he was put on leave without pay until the conclusion of the criminal case and internal investigation, the Margate Police Department said Wednesday, according to the Sun Sentinel.
If convicted, Hammock faces a mandatory minimum penalty of 15 years, and up to 30 years in federal prison, and a potential life term of supervised release.
Despite the time behind bars Hammock is facing, cops like him rarely see the inside of jail cells for the crimes they commit.
Below are a few of these horrific cases we've reported over the years in which cops were convicted of sexual abuse and let off with a slap on the wrist.
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In 2015, a former Manatee County Sheriff's Lieutenant was sentenced for his sadistic and sickening acts against three children. Officer Dale Couch was arrested after children told authorities what he had done to them -- violently sexually abused them.
He was charged with two counts of lewd and lascivious molestation of a child under age 12, and a third charge of lewd and lascivious molestation against a 12-year-old child. Instead of being locked in a cage for the rest of his life, Couch flexed his blue privilege and was given 12 months probation -- no jail time.
Just before Couch's trial, we reported on the police officer who was caught with multiple hard drives full of child porn. All the charges were dropped.
The Free Thought Project also reported on the case of officer Christopher Allen Carson who orally forced himself onto a sleeping 7th grader and was only given a 30-day sentence.
And the list goes on.
Former state trooper, 36-year-old Samuel H. McHenry II, responded to a traffic accident in December 2016, and, instead of helping the victim, he threatened to take her to jail because he saw an empty pill bottle and a nasal spray bottle in her vehicle, neither of which are illegal. He then restrained the woman and threw her in the back of the cop car, drove her to a secluded area and raped her. He then left her at a closed store, away from her car, and sped off.
McHenry pleaded guilty to the charges and was given a measly 180-day sentence, 180 days of which he would never have to spend in jail, thanks to his blue-privileged status.
In November of 2013, John Van Trump was accused of sexually assaulting a girl younger than six-years-old. Since the girl was younger than six, his charge was considered a super crime.
The details of Trump's crimes were so heinous that they were not released publicly. We only know that Trump sexually assaulted the daughter of his former girlfriend on multiple occasions. At the time of the alleged crimes, she was 5.
On June 17, 2015, John Van Trump was convicted of sexually assaulting that little girl. However, instead of the minimum 25-year sentence he originally faced, Trump received far less time. In fact, he received no time, thanks to his police officer status.
A former Florida police officer of the year admitted to forcing undocumented immigrants into having sex with him.
Jonathan Bleiweiss, 34, pleaded guilty to an array of charges last year, admitting to 14 counts of armed false imprisonment, 15 counts of battery and four counts of stalking. However, he conveniently avoided all of the charges with "sex" in them.
Due to his police officer status, this former Broward Sheriff's deputy was given an insultingly lenient plea deal. As part of that deal, Bleiweiss did not face charges of sexual battery, and as such was not required by the state of Florida to register as a sex offender.
Broward Public Defender Howard Finkelstein called the outcome, "shocking and shameful to the whole county."
This article could go on to be hundreds of pages long. In fact, 1,000 policemen across the US had their licenses revoked and lost their jobs over a six year period due to sexual crimes while on duty, and this number is likely only a fraction of the actual cases that have occurred. After all, as this case and all the others show, cops don't really have the incentive to stay out of jail for preying on others, which makes the entire system complicit in perpetuating it and potentially covering it up.