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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, February 15, 2019

Former St. Martinville, Louisiana, Deputy Chief Sentenced for Excessive Force, Obstruction, and Conspiracy

The Honorable Judge Elizabeth Foote, of the United States District Court for the Western District of Louisiana, sentenced defendant Codi Dodge, 35, the former Deputy Chief of Investigations for the St. Martinville Police Department (SMPD), to serve nine years in prison on four felony counts related to his abuse of an arrestee. Dodge was convicted at trial in November on charges 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.

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

After five days of trial, a jury convicted Dodge of using excessive force on an arrestee, resulting in bodily injury to the arrestee.  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, and then threatened the individual before striking him in the face with a firearm. Dodge then arrested the individual, took him to the St. Martinville Police Department, and continued to threaten him.  Later, after learning that the incident had been reported to the FBI, Dodge 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. 

This case was investigated by the FBI’s Lafayette, Louisiana, Resident Agency. The case was 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.

Topic(s): 
Civil Rights
Press Release Number: 
19-126
Updated February 15, 2019