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Kentucky Deputy Convicted of Violating Civil Rights

Tanner Abbott, 31, a former sheriff’s deputy in central Kentucky has been convicted in federal court of violating the civil rights of people he arrested by using unnecessary force -- and then obstructing justice by arresting a victim and trying to cover up his actions, the Justice Department said. Abbott punched a driver in the face during a traffic stop in January 2021 because the man asked to speak to his supervisor, and then pulled the man out of the car and struck him several more times, according to evidence presented during the trial, which included evidence of other abuse by Abbott. When a passenger pleaded with Abbott to stop, the deputy struck the passenger in the face with an elbow and broke his glasses. The following month, Abbott arrested the passenger of a car and punched him in the face without justification, and conspired with another officer to write a report saying the man had approached Abbott aggressively before being struck, the statement said.

A jury in Lexington handed down the verdict for Tanner Abbott, 31, who was a Boyle County sheriff’s deputy at the time, the federal agency said Tuesday, the Associated Press reports. “When those charged with enforcing the law and protecting the public turn to violating the rights of others and trying to cover it up, that does real damage," said U.S. Attorney Carlton S. Shier IV. Abbott, who is scheduled to be sentenced on June 7, was convicted of four counts of deprivation of rights under color of law, one count of conspiracy and one count of falsification of records. He faces up to 10 years in prison on each civil rights charge, up to 20 years on the falsification of records charge and up to 5 years on a conspiracy charge.


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