Former Deputy Police Chief sentenced to prison for excessive force and obstruction

"This case is a prime example of my commitment to hold accountable officers who threaten the mission of law enforcement by breaking the law.”

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Convicted of violating the civil rights of an arrestee by using excessive force against him, and of obstructing justice and conspiring with others to do so, the former Deputy Chief of Investigations for the St. Martinville Police Department (SMPD) in Louisiana was recently sentenced to 9 years in federal prison.

On August 13, 2016, SMPD Deputy Chief Codi Dodge forced entry into the home of an individual he suspected had stolen from him, and then threatened the individual before striking him in the face with a firearm. After arresting the individual and taking him to the St. Martinville Police Department, Dodge continued to threaten him under police custody.

After learning that the incident had been reported to the FBI, Dodge later conspired with other members of the SMPD to falsify reports regarding the incident, and to mislead the FBI in its investigation of the matter. Based on this evidence, the jury also convicted Dodge of obstruction of justice and conspiracy.

“Illegal conduct by officers who abuse their power and violate the civil rights of the citizens they promise to serve harms the public trust and will not be tolerated,” stated Assistant Attorney General Eric Dreiband. “The Department will continue to vigorously enforce our nation’s laws and hold officers who break the law accountable.”

“Law enforcement officers are sworn to uphold and defend the laws of our nation,” said U.S. Attorney David Joseph. “When they themselves break those laws, they violate not just the rights of their victims, but also compromise the public’s trust in law enforcement. This case is a prime example of my commitment to hold accountable officers who threaten the mission of law enforcement by breaking the law.”

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On Thursday, Dodge was sentenced to 108 months in prison on one count of Deprivation of Rights Under Color of Law, one count of Filing a False Report and one count of Tampering with a Victim Witness or Informant. Dodge was also sentenced to serve 60 months in prison for one count of Conspiracy to Tamper with a Witness and Make False Reports.