The Department of Justice announced that a former police officer with the Providence (Ky.) Police Department was charged Thursday, June 8, 2017, by federal grand jury indictment, with two counts of willfully violating the civil rights of an arrestee and one count of obstructing justice by filing a false report. The announcement was made by Acting Assistant Attorney General Thomas E. Wheeler, II, head of the Civil Rights Division, and U.S. Attorney John E. Kuhn, Jr., of the Western District of Kentucky.
The indictment alleges that William Dukes, Jr., of Greenville, Kentucky, arrested J.L., a Webster County resident, on May 26, 2016, without probable cause to believe that J.L. had committed a crime, and that Dukes made this unlawful arrest to retaliate against J.L. for seeking to file a complaint against Dukes through state law enforcement agencies. The indictment alleges that the offense resulted in bodily injury to J.L. and that it involved the use of a dangerous weapon. A third count in the indictment charges Dukes with filing a false report with the intent to obstruct any investigation into the false arrest incident.
If convicted, Dukes faces a maximum statutory punishment of 10 years of imprisonment on each of the first two charges and a maximum statutory punishment of 20 years on the third charge.
An indictment is merely an accusation, and Dukes is presumed innocent unless proven guilty.
This case is being investigated by the FBI’s Owensboro Division, and is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Seth Hancock of the Western District of Kentucky, and Trial Attorney Roy Conn III of the Civil Rights Division’s Criminal Section