By William Thornton
GADSDEN - The American Civil Liberties Union has filed a lawsuit against Etowah County Sheriff Todd Entrekin and two officers in the department over what they say are "unannounced, random, and suspicionless" searches of the home of a registered sex offender.
The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Alabama, does not name the three family members. They are identified in the suit as John, Jane and James Doe. The law firm of Jaffe & Drennan filed the suit today, according to a news release.
ACLU Attorney Brandon Buskey said the searches are "unconstitutional harassment."
"These officers are trampling on this family's constitutional rights, and because this is the sheriff's policy, we fear this may be happening over and over again to families around the county," Buskey said in a release.
According to the ACLU, one member of the family is a registered sex offender because of an offense committed as a child. The suit contends he has "fulfilled every requirement" under the offender registration and community notification act. He must register four times a year with the sheriff.
The suit seeks an end to the searches and the policy of inspecting registered offenders' homes. It also seeks unspecified monetary damages.
Sheriff's Department spokeswoman Natalie Barton said the department was aware of the lawsuit, but had not seen the complaint and had no comment.