Public Body Cavity Search Videotaped

October 27, 2010

Minneapolis police were caught on video tape last March conducting a body cavity search of a motorist after stopping his vehicle. The victim, Recardo Meeks, has now brought a complaint against the Police through the City’s Civilian Review Authority.

According to this account, a security camera “shows Meeks leaving his car and getting patted down and then handcuffed. It appears an officer looked inside Meeks’ car. A short time later, an officer pushed Meeks’ head down toward the trunk of the squad car and both officers pulled down Meeks’ pants and underpants. After searching the garments, an officer grabbed latex gloves from the squad’s trunk and removed tissue and a small amount of marijuana from Meeks’ buttocks.”

The Officers claim that Weeks was pulled over for speeding and swerving his vehicle. When he rolled down his window, they claim to have smelled marijuana.

The Star Tribune article quotes the Police Department’s web site as requiring “that body cavity searches be performed only by medical personnel in a medical facility, pursuant to a search warrant or court order.”

Too bad I don’t practice civil rights law. It looks like Mr. Meeks has a great case. It will be hard to dispute the video. I admit I have never been happy about the proliferation of video cameras in U.S. cities in recent years, ┬ábut here one provided some protection to a citizen. Imagine how many illegal police actions aren’t videotaped? I enjoyed this humorous post on the Simple Justice blog, where Scott Greenfield points out that without the surveillance video, “the cops would deny it and everybody would say that Meeks, a criminal, was lying, and the cops, Anderson and O’Connor, are heroes, with medals and commendations to prove it.”

Yes, it will be argued that Meeks is a criminal. He has been convicted of weapons possession charges unrelated to this incident. Still, that doesn’t excuse the police misconduct here. Could they really believe their actions were justified? This is a textbook example of illegal search and seizure

The Star Tribune headline cites “possible violations of the Fourth Amendment.” I’d say. Whatever the outcome of this complaint, I think Mr. Meeks will soon be appearing as a plaintiff in federal court.

Previous post:

Next post: