Barren County, Ky., Sheriff Christopher Brian Eaton, 42, of Glasgow, Ky., was sentenced today by U.S. District Judge Joseph H. McKinley Jr. to serve an 18-month prison term followed by two years of supervised release, after a jury convicted him on May 9, 2013, of two counts of obstructing justice during a federal criminal civil rights investigation conducted by the FBI. Eaton was convicted of corruptly persuading two of his deputies to write false reports regarding an alleged unreasonable use of force against a man arrested by Eaton and several of his deputies outside a church on Feb. 24, 2010.
Eaton was convicted of directing the first deputy, who did not participate in the arrest, to write a report which falsely stated that Eaton and the deputy had walked back to the area where the individual had been arrested and located a knife lying on the ground. Eaton was convicted of directing the second deputy, who had participated in the arrest, to falsify reports and testify falsely in state court proceedings that that the victim had pulled a knife on Eaton during the victim’s arrest, when Eaton and his deputy fully knew this not to be true.
“Obstruction of justice by law enforcement officers strikes at the heart of the fundamental right of every citizen accused of a crime to due process of the law,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Jocelyn Samuels of the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice. “As the trial, verdict and sentence in this case demonstrate, the Department of Justice and the Civil Rights Division will vigorously prosecute law enforcement officers who violate their sworn duty to respect and enforce the constitutional rights of every person.”
This case was investigated by the Louisville, Ky. Division of the FBI and was prosecuted by Trial Attorneys Roy Conn and Sanjay Patel of the Department of Justice Civil Rights Division.