A police officer from a small town in north Alabama, Michael Kilgore, was indicted this year for allegedly framing drivers for drug possession. One of the affected drivers has taken legal action against Kilgore for wrongful arrest, claiming that the officer planted drugs in his car, and even used a police dog from another department to detect the supposed contraband.
According to a complaint filed in federal court last month, once Officer Kilgore’s fraudulent scheme was uncovered, the charges against the plaintiff and several other victims involved in the scheme were dismissed. The plaintiff has therefore taken legal action for wrongful arrest and malicious prosecution.
According to the complaint, William Sidney Blevins and his girlfriend Amanda Woods were on their way to meet a friend in Centre, north of Gadsden, when an officer pulled them over around 11 p.m. on January 25. Officer Michael Andrew Kilgore, 39, claimed that he stopped them because their tag light was out and then requested to search their car. Despite Blevins’ refusal, Kilgore instructed them to step out of the car and proceeded to handcuff them.
According to the complaint, after the arrest, a K-9 officer named Shane Butler arrived at the scene with his dog and approached Kilgore. Butler then proceeded to walk around the vehicle and crouch down beside the open passenger door, where he was out of sight from Blevins. Following this, Butler stood up and went to retrieve his K-9 partner. The dog then entered the car from the passenger side.
According to the lawsuit, Kilgore approached the plaintiff and reached inside, revealing a bag containing what the plaintiff believed to be illicit substances. Kilgore asserted that he had discovered the bag within the vehicle.
According to the lawsuit, Blevins had no prior knowledge of the bag. However, he was arrested by the officers on charges of possessing methamphetamine. He was taken to Cherokee County Jail and had to spend the night there until the next day. As per his lawsuit, he was forced to sleep on the hard concrete jail floor which resulted in a shoulder injury. Moreover, his personal information, along with his mugshot and charges, were made public in the area’s local newspaper.
Kilgore was taken into custody on May 3 for allegedly conspiring to distribute controlled substances. According to the lawsuit, the charges against Blevins and other individuals were dismissed following Kilgore’s arrest.
Attempts to contact Kilgore, who is no longer employed by the Centre police, have been unsuccessful. At this time, the attorney for the case has not been identified.
According to Blevins’ attorney, Jon Goldfarb, Officer Kilgore’s case is merely the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the harm he has inflicted on innocent individuals whom he arrested for drug possession or distribution. Apparently, Kilgore had planted the drugs on these individuals in order to boost his record with another drug bust.
The lawsuit also mentions Butler, who serves as an officer at the Cedar Bluff Police Department. Despite attempts to reach them for comment, neither Butler nor the police department have responded to multiple calls regarding the matter.
As per the complaint, an anonymous source had informed the authorities that Kilgore was involved in planting evidence just a few days after Blevins’ detention. It was revealed that there was an ongoing investigation against Kilgore when Blevins had gone to meet him.
According to the Centre Police Department’s Facebook page, Kilgore was employed there for less than a year. During his time at the department, the Centre Police Department reported a significant number of arrests, with many related to drugs. Between June and August of 2022, there were a total of 138 new cases at the department, resulting in 70 arrests. Out of those arrests, 49 were charged with drug/narcotic violations, and 26 with drug equipment violations. Five charges were related to possession of illegal prescription drugs. The department also reported that they had confiscated 1.47 pounds of methamphetamine, a gram of heroin, and 4.66 pounds of marijuana.
In May, Centre Police Chief Kirk Blankenship expressed his disappointment with Kilgore’s behavior in a public statement. Blankenship made it clear that there was no justification for any officer to break the law.