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LAPD officer arrested in off-duty altercation at family gathering

December 6, 2012 |  4:48 pm

A Los Angeles police officer is facing criminal prosecution for allegedly breaking a man's jaw during an off-duty altercation, the L.A. County district attorney's office said.

Officer Donald Peko, 35, was charged with a single count of battery with serious bodily injury -- a felony -- for the July 2011 incident, according to a statement from the D.A.'s office. 

Peko, who joined the LAPD in 2006, appeared in court Thursday to be arraigned, but the proceedings were pushed back to Jan. 18. Peko was then released from custody on $50,000 bail.

Peko is accused of punching a 23-year-old man in the face during a family gathering in Whittier, according to the D.A.'s account.

The off-duty officer allegedly told the man he was not allowed to leave the party with an open bottle of alcohol and then delivered a blow without warning when the man attempted to gulp down the drink, the D.A.'s statement alleged.

Peko was arrested Wednesday by officers from the Whittier Police Department, which conducted the investigation into the incident.

If he is convicted, Peko faces up to four years in state prison, the D.A. statement said. He could not be reached immediately for comment.

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-- Joel Rubin (@joelrubin)

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