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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Eastern District of Kentucky

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, August 17, 2022

Two Current Kentucky State Police Troopers and One Former Trooper Indicted for Civil Rights Violations and Conspiracy

LONDON, Ky. - Two current Kentucky State Police Troopers and a former Trooper have been indicted for using excessive force on an arrestee, conspiring to cover up that excessive force, and illegally entering a home.

A federal grand jury sitting in London returned a superseding indictment charging Kentucky State Trooper Jeremy Elliotte, 28, and former Trooper Derrek Lovett, 30, with willfully depriving an arrestee of the right to be free from unreasonable force.  Elliotte was also charged with willfully depriving three others of their right to be free from unreasonable searches.  Michael L. Howell, 32, also a Kentucky State Trooper, was the third defendant named in the superseding indictment.  He had previously been indicted in June 2022, for conspiracy and obstruction charges.  The superseding indictment now charges all three with a conspiracy and with engaging in obstructive conduct with the intent to prevent communication of information to federal law enforcement relating to the possible commission of a federal offense.           

The indictment alleges that Elliotte and Lovett, aiding and abetting one another and acting under color of law, assaulted a victim without legitimate law enforcement justification and that this assault resulted in bodily injury.  The indictment further alleges that Howell, along with Elliotte and Lovett, conspired to conceal the true nature of the force Elliotte and Lovett used against the arrestee and the circumstances under which they used it. According to the indictment, the three defendants developed a cover story about what happened.  While hoping the assault had not been recorded, the conspirators agreed upon a version that was as close as possible to what a recording would show, in case the assault had been recorded.  The indictment also alleges that, on the night of the assault, Elliotte unlawfully entered a home without a warrant or other legal justification, depriving three victims living there of their right to be free from unreasonable searches.             

Carlton S. Shier, IV, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Kentucky, and Jodi Cohen, Special Agent in Charge, FBI, Louisville Field Office, announced the indictments.

The investigation preceding the indictments was conducted by the FBI.  The indictment was presented to the grand jury by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Zachary Dembo and Emily Greenfield.

A date for Elliotte, Howell and Lovett to appear in court has not yet been set.  Each faces up to 20 years in prison for the conspiracy and obstruction charges; Elliotte and Lovett face up to 10 years for the deprivation of rights charge related to the assault; and Elliotte faces up one year for the deprivation of rights charge related to the unlawful entry.  However, any sentence following a conviction would be imposed by the Court, after its consideration of the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and the federal sentencing statutes. 

Any indictment is an accusation only. A defendant is presumed innocent and is entitled to a fair trial at which government must prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.                                                                                         

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Topic(s): 
Civil Rights
Contact: 
CONTACT: Gabrielle Dudgeon PHONE: (859) 685-4887 E-MAIL: gabrielle.dudgeon@usdoj.gov
Updated August 17, 2022