Montevallo pastor files lawsuit against county

By NICOLE LOGGINS / Staff Writer

Montevallo pastor Kenneth Dukes filed a lawsuit against the Shelby County Drug Enforcement Task Force, the city of Alabaster as well as Sheriff Chris Curry, Alabaster Police Chief Stanley Oliver and Alabaster police officer Greg Oaks for mistakenly identifying Dukes as a criminal and placing him on the sheriff’s most wanted list.

Dukes’ photo was chosen out of a line up and a Shelby County confidential informant indicated he had bought drugs from Dukes previously. According to the lawsuit, on May 21, 2010, a warrant was issued and Dukes was placed on the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office most wanted website for unlawful distribution of a controlled substance.

On June 19, 2010, two members of Dukes’ congregation informed him of his presence on the website. The lawsuit states that Dukes then contacted Oaks, who worked to issue the original warrant against Dukes, and said that he had been mistakenly implicated. Dukes photo and information were removed from the website four days later.

Dukes claims that his fourth and 14th amendment rights were violated because the information provided by a confidential informant was not confirmed prior to action taken by law enforcement. He also claims he was discriminated against because of his race. Dukes is black.

All sheriff’s officials said they acted in good faith and that they have apologized to Dukes. They have also said that the photo and warrant were issued in error. Officials also went to Dukes church and apologized for the case of mistaken identity in front of his congregation in February 2011.

“Kenneth Earl Dukes was not involved, nor has ever been to our knowledge, in any drug related activity,” the Shelby County Sheriff’s Department said in a publicly issued statement.

Dukes is seeking general and special damages, punitive damages and reimbursement of court costs.