6/14/2019Court Busts Michigan Cop For Strip Searching Innocent Driver
Black driver stopped in Michigan on a false pretext can sue over police strip search, Sixth Circuit US Court of Appeals ruled.
An innocent black driver who was stopped, jailed and strip searched by a Michigan police officer will be compensated for the unnecessary humiliation. The Sixth Circuit US Court of Appeals last week ruled that Allen Park Police Officer Daniel Mack cannot claim immunity for his unlawful conduct on June 7, 2016.
On that day, motorist Kevin Campbell was driving a newly purchased family minivan on Southfield Freeway. Since it was new, the van had no license plate. Instead, a readily visible temporary tag was taped to the rear window. When Officer Mack saw Campbell drive past, he decided to pull him over. Campbell did not have a driver's license on him, so Officer Mack ordered him out of the van for a patdown search. He was left handcuffed in the back of the police car while the officer used his drug dog to search the van. Nothing was found.
Campbell was booked for driving on a suspended license, ordered into a cell and told to remove his pants. Campbell objected to stripping for the officer.
"Yeah, you're getting naked," Officer Mack said. "You're in holding facility. You're getting naked."
Two other officers arrived to assist as Officer Mack put on blue latex gloves and proceeded to perform an invasive cavity search. Nothing was found. Campbell sued Officer Mack and the police department for violating his rights, and the three-judge panel last week agreed that Campbell should never have been pulled over in the first place.
"Because, viewing the facts in the light most favorable to Campbell, Mack lacked any objective basis for the stop," Judge Eric L. Clay wrote for the court. "Mack lacked probable cause or reasonable suspicion to believe that Campbell had committed a license plate violation."
The court found not only that the initial stop violated Campbell's clearly established Fourth Amendment rights, but also that his treatment in the cell could be a First Amendment violation.
"A jury could similarly find that Mack performed the strip and/or body cavity searches, and did so in an aggressive, intimidating, and hostile manner, because of Campbell's protests," Judge Clay ruled. "The video footage depicts Mack growing increasingly frustrated with Campbell's continued protests in the face of Mack's orders to remove his underwear."
The case will now head to a jury for a determination of whether Campbell is entitled to damages. A copy of the ruling is available in a 300k PDF file at the source link below.