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Prosecutor confirms investigation into alleged beating of Hobart officer by fellow cops

Hobart police Officer Adam Ahmad, right, sits quietly beside his attorney, Chris Cooper, during the Board of Works and Public Safety meeting last August in which members cleared him of any wrongdoing in a June 3, 2018, brawl with two other officers. The board reversed his 60-day suspension and announced he can return to work once medically cleared, saying there was no evidence suggesting Ahmad engaged in any physical violence outside of self-defense. 

CROWN POINT — The Lake County prosecutor confirmed Monday his office is probing allegations that two Hobart cops assaulted a fellow officer.

Hobart police Officers Andrew and Adrian Bustos, who are brothers, each accepted a 60-day unpaid suspension last year for their actions June 3, 2018, after a baby shower for Andrew Bustos' wife.

Officer Adam Ahmad was cleared to return to work without serving a 60-day suspension recommended by Police Chief Richard Zormier following a hearing in August before the Hobart Board of Works and Public Safety. The board concluded there was no reliable evidence that Ahmad “punched or struck anyone” during the brawl. 

Adrian Bustos and Ahmad have returned to work in the patrol division, Hobart police Capt. James Gonzales said.

A spokesman for the U.S. attorney's office referred questions about Andrew Bustos' service with the task force to DEA.

"Andrew Bustos is currently on a DEA Task Force," a DEA spokeswoman said late Monday. "The DEA takes all allegations of misconduct and wrongdoing very seriously. Particularly, when criminal allegations come forward, DEA aggressively pursues those allegations and fully cooperates with all investigating agencies. As with all DEA employees, Task Force Officers are held to DEA’s Standards of Conduct.”

Ahmad testified during his August disciplinary hearing that Adrian Bustos punched him several times in the face, and Andrew Bustos knocked him out with a punch and kicked him in the face while he was down.

Ahmad suffered damage to several teeth and an eye.

Christopher Cooper, the Fraternal Order of Police attorney who represented Ahmad at the disciplinary hearing, said Monday that Ahmad is still recovering from his injuries.

"His life is forever changed," Cooper said.

Ahmad said, "Speaking as a victim of a crime and not as a police officer, I hope that justice will be done for this horrific crime, and that there will be accountability for the mishandling of the investigation by the police department."

It was unclear after Ahmad's disciplinary hearing last year whether the case would be forwarded to the Lake County Prosecutor's Office for possible criminal charges.

Lake County Prosecutor Bernard Carter on Monday confirmed an investigation, but said no charges have been filed to date.

"No decisions have been made," he said. "It's under review."

The Hobart Police Department supports the prosecutor's investigation, Gonzales said.

"We feel any investigation into this case by the Lake County Prosecutor's Office will be fair and impartial, and we will stand by any decision made," he said.

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Public Safety Reporter

Sarah covers crime, federal courts and breaking news for The Times. She joined the paper in 2004 after graduating from Purdue University Calumet.