A former detective with the Ville Platte Police Department in Ville Platte, Louisiana, was sentenced today to 18 months in prison for filing a false report to cover up a civil rights violation, announced Acting Assistant Attorney General Tom Wheeler of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division and U.S. Attorney Stephanie A. Finley of the Western District of Louisiana.
Nathaniel Savoy, 39, pleaded guilty to the crime in November 2016. At the plea hearing, Savoy admitted that he conspired with a civilian to burglarize a local hardware store, and used his official authority as a law enforcement officer to cover his tracks. Around midnight on March 8, 2015, Savoy and his accomplice drove to Doug Ashy Building Materials in Ville Platte, Louisiana, in Savoy’s department-issued truck. An on-duty police officer who was patrolling the area noticed their suspicious behavior and drove over to investigate. Savoy falsely told the officer that he was checking on local businesses to prevent burglaries. Satisfied with Savoy’s explanation, the police officer drove away. Savoy then dropped off his accomplice and instructed him to break in and steal 20 packs of shingles for a construction project Savoy was working on in his spare time. Savoy then responded to a traffic stop across town to create an alibi. Savoy, the senior officer on the scene, ordered the other officers to check houses and local businesses on that side of town, which was miles from the hardware store. Savoy then returned to the hardware store, his accomplice loaded the shingles into the bed of Savoy’s pickup truck, and they drove off. The next day, having realized that he might have been caught on surveillance video, Savoy wrote and filed a police report in which he falsely stated that he just happened to find several packs of shingles by the side of the road and he loaded them onto his truck for safekeeping. Savoy filed the false police report with the intent to obstruct an investigation into his conspiracy to deprive the hardware store of property under color of law.
“The vast majority of American law enforcement officers conduct themselves with honor,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Wheeler. “But when an officer violates his or her oath and breaks the law, as did Mr. Savoy, the Department of Justice stands ready to enforce the law and protect the civil rights of all Americans.”
“The people of this District deserve to have law enforcement officers working in their communities who follow the laws they are sworn to uphold,” said U.S. Attorney Finley. “Savoy’s actions are not representative of the majority of officers who risk their lives every day to protect and serve. We will continue to work with our local and federal partners to investigate and prosecute those who violate their oath to protect and serve their communities.”
This case was investigated by the FBI’s Lafayette Division, and was prosecuted by Trial Attorney Christopher J. Perras of the Civil Rights Division’s Criminal Section and Assistant U.S. Attorney Jamilla Bynog of the Western District of Louisiana.