Former St. Martinville cop accused of filing false reports to co - KATC.com | Continuous News Coverage | Acadiana-Lafayette

Former St. Martinville cop accused of filing false reports to cover up abuse

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A former St. Martinville police officer facing federal criminal charges is accused of physically assaulting two people and then working to cover his tracks by filing false police reports, destroying evidence and trying to convince his fellow officers to help with the obstruction effort, according to an indictment unsealed on Tuesday.

The seven-count indictment against Codi Dodge, 34, centers around the separate arrests of two people in 2016.

Dodge faces two counts of deprivation of rights for allegedly assaulting those two people. In one incident, he's accused of kicking someone in the face. In the second, he's accused of illegally entering someone's home without probable cause and physically assaulting them before making the arrest — an incident already chronicled in a federal lawsuit Dodge settled earlier this year.

Dodge also faces a count of conspiracy to tamper with a witness and make false reports, as he's accused of coordinating with fellow officers to lie to any investigator inquiring about the incidents — including by urging officers to submit false reports into the case files for those two arrests.

In another two charges of false reports, Dodge is accused of lying on his reports related to the arrests. In one, he wrote that he kicked someone in the "bronchial plexus," a pressure point, instead of in the face, and that he had to use that force to make the arrest.

In the second, Dodge lied in the report to say he pursued a fleeing suspect into a home, when he actually unlawfully entered the home without probable cause and effected the arrest through assault, according to the indictment.

Two other counts lodged against Dodge are related to that arrest. He's charged with one count of destroying evidence, as he's accused of submerging the arrestee's cell phone in water and discarding its battery and SIM card. He's also accused of one count of tampering with a victim witness or informant by trying to convince an officer who witnessed the arrest to lie during an FBI interrogation.

Although no other officer is named in the indictment, the document alleges at least one of Dodge's colleagues agreed to conspire with him to obscure evidence in the case.

A grand jury handed up the indictment against Dodge on Thursday, and he pleaded not guilty to all of the charges on Friday.

Dodge was released from the Lafayette Parish jail on Monday on a $100,000 bond, according to court records.

His release conditions specifically prohibit him from contacting any victims or witnesses or using his law enforcement contacts to gain any information about the facts of the case. Dodge is also barred from possessing firearms or using the Internet for anything beyond business purposes.

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