Police Officer Convicted of Wrongful Arrest
Officer illegally arrested citizen after the citizen attempted to file complaints against him
The Justice Department today announced that William Dukes, Jr., a former sergeant with the Providence, Kentucky, Police Department, was found guilty Friday in federal court on one count of willfully arresting a citizen without probable cause.
After five days of trial, the jury convicted Dukes of arresting the victim, knowing that he did not have probable cause to believe that the victim had committed a crime, in violation of his 4th Amendment rights. The jury heard testimony that Dukes arrested the victim because the victim had called several law enforcement agencies seeking to file a complaint against him. The defendant was acquitted of another civil rights charge for violating the victim’s 1st Amendment rights and was also acquitted of an obstruction of justice charge.
“Police officers across the country have an important duty to protect and safeguard the rights of members of their communities,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General John Gore. “Dukes did not use that authority within the boundaries of the law when he violated the 4th Amendment rights of an individual, and his actions will not be tolerated.”
“The men and women of Kentucky law enforcement represent the very best of our Commonwealth,” stated U.S. Attorney Russell Coleman. “But when they treat the rule of law as optional as did Mr. Dukes, they will be held responsible like any other citizen.”
Sentencing is set for Sept. 13. The statutory maximum on the charge is 120 months in prison.
This case was investigated by the Louisville Division of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Seth Hancock of the Western District of Kentucky, and Trial Attorney Zachary Dembo of the Civil Rights Division’s Criminal Section.