Civil Rights Law & Policy Blog

Editor: Andrew M. Ironside

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Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Police watchdog founder claims NYPD officers roughed him up, stripped searched him after he recorded encounter in which he asked for their badge numbers...

...reported The NY Daily News's Tina Moore earlier this week. Forty-four-year-old Jose LaSalle plans to sue NYC, the NYPD, and the officers involved for $500K for allegedly violating his civil rights.

October 29, 2014 in Excessive Force, First Amendment, Fourth Amendment, Strip Searches | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Teacher alleges strip search by school nurse violated Fourth Amendment

A teacher in Virginia has sued school officials for civil rights violations following an alleged strip search. According to her complaint, after the parent of one of her students reported a child with scabies, the assistant principle interrupted the teacher's class and escorted her from her classroom to the nurse's office where she was forced to remove everything but her undergarments. The nurse looked her over, but found nothing. The teacher then "returned to her class to continue teaching though very upset." According to the Courthouse News service:

[She] says the search violated her Fourth and Fourteenth Amendment rights to bodily privacy.

 

"Because a parent or guardian of the student made an unsupported allegation, with no rational connection to the plaintiff, the defendants responded with an intrusive search," she says in the lawsuit. "The search was unjustified at its inception, and the nature of the search as conducted - removing Ms. Anderson's clothes to inspect her body for mites - was not reasonable to the perceived or alleged problem in its scope, and unsupported by any objective facts."

 

Anderson, who says she suffers from severe mental anguish and embarrassment from the search, seeks $622,000 in damages.

April 24, 2014 in Fourth Amendment, Schools, Strip Searches | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, January 17, 2014

Drug search involving anal probe results in $1.6-million settlement

Yesterday, The Los Angeles Times had this eye-opening story on the settlement of a civil rights suit stemming from body cavity searches performed on a New Mexican man the police suspected of drug possession. The police were immodestly diligent in their pursuit of the alleged drugs, but their efforts yielded nothing. From the article, the plaintiff appears to have raised several intriguing CrimPro issues--e.g. whether the hospital at which the cavity search is performed must be within the jurisdiction in which the search warrant had been issued--but ones to which I cannot respond without beginning, "I presume..." So, here's a portion of The Times's article from which the title of this post comes: 

Police took [David] Eckert [Plaintiff] to a hospital. His federal civil rights lawsuit — which reached a partial conclusion this week — detailed what happened next.

 

First Eckert got an X-ray, which was inconclusive for drugs, according to his lawsuit. Then a doctor examined Eckert's anus with his finger, as did a second doctor. Neither found drugs.

 

Then the doctors gave a protesting Eckert an enema, he alleged, forcing him to have a bowel movement in front of medical staff. There were no drugs in his stool.

 

Doctors purportedly gave him two more enemas and got the same result.

 

They took another X-ray, which was negative this time. Then came the colonoscopy, which involves inserting a camera into the anus. It found nothing.

 

No drugs were found in Eckert's body.

 

Weeks later, he received a hospital bill for $4,539.

 

He sued the city of Deming, along with Hidalgo County and the hospital, Gila Regional Medical Center in Grant County.

 

In his complaint, Eckert said he was denied the opportunity to call his attorney; that the search warrant had expired by the time the doctors were examining him; that the procedures were carried out in a different county where the warrant wasn't valid; and that police mocked him during the procedures and intentionally pulled back his privacy curtain while he was exposed.

 

City and county officials denied some of the allegations in preliminary court filings. But last month, after a six-hour negotiating session, they settled. Eckert will get $1.6 million in damages.

January 17, 2014 in Civil Rights Litigation, Fourth Amendment, Search, Strip Searches | Permalink | Comments (3)

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

CRL&P Daily Reads: Dec. 10, 2013

Allegedly illegal strip searches in Milwaukee jail could cost the city millions; man acquitted of drug charges files a civil rights suit against FBI alleging malicious prosecution; police face civil rights suit after officer pleads guilty to child porn; jail staff knew diabetic woman in their care needed insulin perhaps days before she died; Miami Gardens police allegedly used excessive force and denied medical treatment to arrestee; and, man was killed by a police officer who had accidently been tased by another officer.

Atlantic says Obama misled MSNBC's Chris Matthews on NSA surveillance; Guardian reflects on how the debate over surveillance has changed since Snowden's leaks; Nobel-winning writers say NSA surveillance is compromising freedom; Bill Clinton worries about the NSA's collection of economic data; and, NSA makes tech companies worry about profits.

Federal judge holds journalists have no constitutional right to be embedded with military; and, ACLU says prison officials violated the First Amendment by denying reporters access to prisoners after a riot.

Gun manufacturers doing better than before Newtown.

Same-sex couples race to challenge Texas's same-sex marriage ban; and, this graph shows geographical online efforts to promote gay-rights.

 

December 10, 2013 in Civil Rights Litigation, Excessive Force, First Amendment, Fourth Amendment, Freedom of Press, Freedom of Speech, Gun Policy, Prisons and Prisoners, Same-sex marriage, Strip Searches, Web/Tech | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, November 9, 2013

CRL&P Daily Reads: Nov. 9, 2013

Authorities in New Mexico face another lawsuit over allegedly illegal body-cavity searches, as do police in Milwaukee.

Medical marijuana distributor files a civil rights lawsuit alleging that authorities targeted him for his "outspoken advocacy" of local taxation of medical marijuana.

Same-sex marriage will be legal in Hawaii when the governor signs legalization bill into law later this week.

Guardian editor will face questioning by British lawmakers for publication of NSA leaks.

3-D printer makes gun, raises production concerns.

Singapore blocks popular adulturey website.

 

November 9, 2013 in 14th Amendment, Civil Rights Litigation, First Amendment, Freedom of Press, Gun Policy, Prisons and Prisoners, Same-sex marriage, Strip Searches | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, November 8, 2013

Illinois county faces class-action suit for jail's allegedly illegal strip-search policy

Last month, CRL&P noted this story about a woman who had been forcibly strip-searched by four prison gaurds in LaSalle County, Illinois. The woman filed a lawsuit alleging that the forcible search violated her civil rights and Illinois law. She claimed that the guards did not have "reasonable belief" that she possessed contraband or weapons as required in Illinois; and, she alleged that three male guards participated in the search in violation of Illinois' law requiring strip-searches to be performed by guards of the same sex as the arrestee (a claim supported by surveillance video of the incident).

The woman's attorney has since filed a separate class-action suit against LaSalle County, the sheriff, and several sheriff's officers. According to The Chicago Tribune, "The class-action suit against LaSalle County...claims the four named plaintiffs...were either forcibly stripped or made to take their clothes off and then made to stay in cells without bathrooms for several hours. There, they were ordered to urinate and defecate in a drain on the floor of the cell, and in some of the cases not given toilet paper, the suit claims."

The Tribune also reports:

The new lawsuit, filed Thursday, claims that in addition to forcibly stripping three female arrestees and one man brought to the jail in a civil matter, the four were forced to stay in their cells for several hours without access to a bathroom.

The suit also claims one of the women was denied medication for diabetes and denied food she was capable of eating based on her medical condition.

"This abusive and humiliating treatment has been, and continues to be, a regular and common practice in the LaSalle County Jail as a means of illegally punishing arrestees," the lawsuit reads.

LaSalle County officials could not be reached Thursday night for comment but previously said that County Jail guards did nothing wrong in the incident involving Holmes.

 

November 8, 2013 in 14th Amendment, Fourth Amendment, Search, Strip Searches | Permalink | Comments (0)