Former KY deputy sentenced to more than 9 years in prison for abuse against arrestees

Posted at 1:12 PM, Jun 24, 2024

(LEX 18) — The U.S. Department of Justice recently reported that a former Boyle County Sheriff's Deputy was recently sentenced to 110 months for using excessive force against four arrestees and attempting to hide the abuse with false police reports.

As detailed by the department, 31-year-old Tanner M. Abbott reportedly violated "the constitutional rights of multiple people he arrested during his tenure as a law enforcement officer" and was convicted in March of five felonies and one misdemeanor. Further, Abbott was also convicted of "performing an illegal search and writing and conspiring to write false police reports to cover up his abuse," the department reported.

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“This defendant habitually and routinely abused his authority and used his badge to shield himself from accountability for years,” said Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. “This sentence should send a loud message that such abuses by law enforcement will not be tolerated. The Justice Department is steadfast in its commitment to hold law enforcement accountable when they violate the civil and constitutional rights of people in their country.”

“Instead of protecting and serving the community, the defendant was physically abusing people — even bragging about the injuries he caused,” said U.S. Attorney Carlton S. Shier IV for the Eastern District of Kentucky. “That is not law enforcement; that is brazen criminal conduct. The community deserved better. Fortunately, he now has a criminal sentence that he deserves.”

During the sentencing hearing, the department reported that the government highlighted evidence which indicated a pattern of abuse throughout Abbott's career. In addition, an investigator testified that, during a two-year investigation into allegations against Abbott, the FBI found evidence that Abbott "frequently used excessive force against suspects."


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The department detailed that text messages recovered from Abbott's work-issued cell phone during the investigation revealed that he "bragged, sometimes in graphic and vulgar terms, about causing injuries to people he had arrested." In addition, Abbott reportedly took photos of the injuries he had inflicted on those that were arrested and proceeded to send them to friends, however, the department detailed that Abbott never submitted them in official police documents.

In addition, the court found that Abbott "obstructed justice" by reportedly testifying falsely in his own defense during his trial.