A Kentucky State Police trooper from Laurel County faces federal charges after allegedly beating someone who was arrested and then conspiring with others to cover up the use of force, federal prosecutors say .
A federal grand jury in London returned the indictment charging Michael L. Howell, 32, with conspiracy to obstruct a criminal investigation and engaging in deceptive conduct with intent to prevent the reporting of information to federal law enforcement regarding the commission or possible commission of a federal offense, according to a statement from the Department of Justice.
The indictment alleges that Howell, along with another KSP soldier, conspired with others to conceal the true nature of the force used by KSP soldiers and the circumstances in which they used that force to detain someone. one who was arrested.
The indictment states that Howell and the others failed to disclose the use of force by developing a fictionalized story about what happened that matched “the closest thing to what the video would show”, in order to conceal the true events and mislead his investigating supervisor.
According to court documents, Howell and four other soldiers beat and attacked an overpowered man. The documents indicate that the victim was attacked so violently that his orbital bone was fractured and Howell broke his hand.
“The defendant soldiers will argue that during the beat, they only used enough force to subdue (the victim). However, eyewitness testimony will confirm that the defendant’s soldiers continued to beat (victim) long after (victim) was subdued,” the document states.
The victim’s wife and two children were nearby when the alleged beatings took place, according to court records.
“After (the victim) was arrested, the defendant soldiers spoke to (the victim’s wife) and the two children, verbally abusing them, threatening to have the children removed from the house and physically accosting them. The defendant soldiers used fear and intimidation to keep the children away after they saw their father beaten and attacked.
“In this process the phone was taken from (the victim’s wife) and confiscated by the defendant Howell,” the tapes say.
Court documents also address efforts by Howell and other soldiers to illegally obtain and search for the victim’s phone after his arrest.
Carlton S. Shier, IV, U.S. attorney for the eastern half of Kentucky, and Jodi Cohen, special agent in charge of the FBI’s Louisville field office, announced the indictment.
The investigation preceding the indictment 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 Howell to appear in court is scheduled for July 8 at 1:30 p.m. He faces up to 20 years in prison for each charge if convicted, but any sentence would be handed down by a judge after considering the circumstances of the case. and federal sentencing guidelines.
This indictment is part of an ongoing investigation.