Judge rejects guilty plea from former South Bend police officer accused of assaulting inmate

A judge has rejected a guilty plea from former South Bend Police officer Theodore Robert.

Robert is accused of assaulting a handcuffed inmate at the St. Joseph County Jail in 2010.

During a change-of-plea hearing on Monday, Robert said he struck the inmate in self-defense, but he did not say he used excessive force when the judge asked him to, according to WSBT.

Because of that, the judge was uncomfortable with Robert’s answers and rejected the plea. The judge said that Robert can either take the case to trial or return to court when he’s ready to plead guilty.

A criminal civil rights violation could lead to a sentence ranging from probation to 10 years in prison.

Robert admitted that in May 2010, he pushed a handcuffed St. Joseph County Jail inmate against the wall, pushed his arm up against the suspect’s throat, and then punched him in the face.

The inmate needed stitches for a cut on his forehead that he received during the incident.

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