The Justice Department announced today that Theodore Robert, 41, a former police officer with the South Bend, Indiana, Police Department (SBPD), pleaded guilty today in federal court to violating the civil rights of an arrestee.
During his guilty plea before U.S. Magistrate Judge Christopher A. Nuechterlein of the Northern District of Indiana, Robert admitted that, acting under his authority as an SBPD officer, he punched a handcuffed victim in the face, as multiple officers attempted to intervene. He also admitted that, prior to punching the victim in the face, he forcefully pushed the victim into a wall and pressed his arm against the victim’s head and throat. Robert’s actions caused the victim to suffer a laceration above the eye. According to information presented in court, the incident occurred at the St. Joseph County Jail in South Bend and was recorded by the jail’s surveillance cameras.
“When police officers violate the laws they swear to uphold, it threatens the credibility of our criminal justice system,” said Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Vanita Gupta, head of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. “The Justice Department will continue to vigorously prosecute and hold accountable those officers who violate the constitutional rights of people in their custody.”
A sentencing hearing has been scheduled for May 19, 2016. Robert faces a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison.
This case was investigated by the FBI Indianapolis Division’s South Bend Resident Agency. The case is being prosecuted by Trial Attorneys Stephen Curran and Sanjay Patel of the Civil Rights Division, with the assistance of the U.S. Attorney’s Office of the Northern District of Indiana.