Alabama State Rep. Will Dismukes, R-Prattville, who last week came under fire for attending a birthday party for the Ku Klux Klan’s first leader, has been charged in connection with a theft at a business where Dismukes worked.
Montgomery County District Attorney Daryl Bailey made the announcement of the first-degree theft of property charge at a press conference this afternoon.
Bailey said his office launched an investigation after a May 20 complaint from the owners of Weiss Flooring about alleged theft of a large sum of money by an employee.
“After countless hours of investigation, which consisted of witness interviews, obtaining bank records and gathering other evidence, a decision was made by myself and prosecutors in my office, along with these investigators, that probable cause existed that a crime had been committed,” Bailey said.
“A few minutes ago, a warrant for theft of property in the 1st degree, was signed by a representative of that business and issued by a Montgomery County magistrate for the arrest of Alabama state representative Will Dismukes.”
Bailey said he was limited in what he could say about the circumstances of the alleged theft. He noted that the arrest is only an allegation.
Dismukes could not immediately be reached for comment. Bailey said Dismukes’ attorney had been notified of the charge. “We are giving him until late this afternoon to turn himself in,” Bailey said. This afternoon, the Montgomery County jail inmate search log showed Dismukes was arrested for first-degree theft with a bond amount of $5,000.
Bailey did not disclose the amount of the alleged theft but said the charge of first-degree theft applies to amounts exceeding $2,500. “I will tell you that the alleged amount is a lot more than that,” Bailey said. Bailey said the time frame of the alleged theft was 2016-2018.
If convicted of the crime, a felony, Dismukes would automatically be removed from office. He was first elected to the seat in 2018.
Dismukes entered the race for Congress in Alabama’s 2nd District last year, but dropped out in October.
Gov. Kay Ivey issued a statement after today’s arrest. “Everyone is innocent until proven guilty, and this is a process that will need to play out,” Ivey said. “However, if true, it is disappointing when a public official, elected with the confidence of the people, abuses that trust. I support the letter of the law, and no one is above it – especially those in public office.”
Last week Dismukes stepped down as pastor of a Baptist church after a controversy over his recent speaking appearance at a birthday party for the first grand wizard of the Ku Klux Klan.
Dismukes resigned as pastor of Pleasant Hill Baptist Church in Prattville after backlash resulting from a Facebook post highlighting his attendance at the birthday party for early KKK leader Nathan Bedford Forrest, who was grand wizard of the Ku Klux Klan from 1867-69.
Dismukes gave the invocation at the party held July 25 at Fort Dixie in Selma, an event that coincided with ceremonies honoring the late U.S. Rep. John Lewis, an Alabama native and longtime Georgia congressman who was a leader in the civil rights movement and was badly beaten at the “Bloody Sunday” march in Selma in 1965.
The Alabama Democratic Party called for Dismukes to resign over the Forrest celebration incident, as did Sen. Clyde Chambliss, R-Prattville. The Republican Party called the appearance improper.