Former St. Martinville, Louisiana, Police Department (SMPD) Deputy Chief of Investigations Codi Dodge, 35, was found guilty today in the Western District of Louisiana of four felony counts, including a civil rights violation for using excessive force against an arrestee, and three counts of obstruction and conspiracy to cover up the incident.
After five days of trial, the jury convicted Dodge of using excessive force on an arrestee, in violation of the arrestee’s Fourth Amendment rights to be free from unreasonable force. The jury also convicted Dodge of obstructing justice by falsifying records related to the unlawful use of force incident, and by conspiring with other members of the St. Martinville Police Department to cover up his actions.
“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,” said Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General John Gore. “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 C. 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. My office will hold them accountable.”
Evidence presented at trial established that, on Aug. 13, 2016, Dodge forced entry into the home of an individual he suspected had stolen from him. After unlawfully entering the individual’s home, Dodge threatened the individual before striking him in the face with a firearm, causing bodily injury. Dodge then arrested the individual, and brought him back to the St. Martinville Police Department, where Dodge continued to threaten him. After learning that the incident had been reported to the FBI, Dodge conspired with other members of the St. Martinville Police Department to falsify reports regarding the incident, and to mislead the FBI in its investigation of the matter.
Dodge faces a statutory maximum of 55 years in prison, though the actual sentence will be set by the court at a later date.
This case was investigated by the FBI’s Lafayette, Louisiana, Resident Agency. The case is being prosecuted by Deputy Chief Bobbi Bernstein and Trial Attorney Tim Visser of the Civil Rights Division and Assistant U.S. Attorney John Luke Walker of the Western District of Louisiana. Trial Attorney Risa Berkower of the Civil Rights Division participated in the investigation of the case.
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Author: November 5, 2018