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Press Release

Former Kentucky Sheriff’s Deputy Charged with Civil Rights Offenses for Excessive Force and Obstruction

For Immediate Release
Office of Public Affairs

A federal grand jury in Lexington, Kentucky, returned an indictment today charging a former Boyle County Sheriff’s Deputy with five counts of deprivation of rights under color of law, one count of falsification of records and one count of conspiracy.

According to court documents, during 2021, then-Sheriff’s Deputy Tanner M. Abbott, 30, of Danville, Kentucky, violated the civil rights of five people by using excessive force while arresting them. During one of these arrests, Abbott also conducted an illegal warrantless search of a hotel room. The indictment further alleges that on two occasions, Abbott obstructed justice by writing and conspiring with another person to write false police reports to conceal his misconduct.

The civil rights charges each carry a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison. The falsification of records charge carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison. The conspiracy charges carry a maximum penalty of five years in prison. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, U.S. Attorney Carlton S. Shier IV for the Eastern District of Kentucky and Special Agent in Charge Michael E. Stansbury of the FBI Louisville Field Office made the announcement.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Zachary Dembo for the Eastern District of Kentucky and Trial Attorney Alec Ward of the Civil Rights Division’s Criminal Section are prosecuting the case.

An indictment is merely an allegation. All defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

Updated October 13, 2023

Civil Rights
Press Release Number: 23-1102