Oakland Cops Illegally Strip-Searched Black Men in Traffic Stop, Must Pay $205,000
U.S. District Court Judge Marilyn Hall Patel found that Ofc. Ingo Mayer, in the presence of his partner and a parole officer, pulled over Kirby Bradshaw and Spencer Lewis with "no reasonable suspicion" to justify the traffic stop. Mayer then forced them to strip while he searched them in front of a gathering crowd, at one point asking Lucas if he had any "dope in your butt cheeks."
While Lucas was on parole and Bradshaw had an outstanding arrest warrant, the judge found that Mayer "deliberately, callously and oppressively violated plaintiffs' Fourth Amendment rights," which prohibit illegal searches and seizures. She wrote:
... the strip searches were conducted in public view which witnesses, both friends and strangers, could view. Plaintiffs testified to their humiliation and feelings of degradation as a result of this public spectacle as well as the subsequent recurrent memories of feeling terrorized. The testimony of the feeling of "submissiveness" also speaks to the sense of degradation. This feeling is particularly poignant when viewed in light of the history of young black men in this country.
According to court records, when Lucas told Mayer he was scheduled to be released from parole in a month, the officer replied, "Not if I can help it."
Patel also ruled that Lucas was entitled to an additional $5,000 for unlawful detention without probable cause. After the strip-search, officers searched the house where they believed Lucas lived, without a warrant, and confiscated a pellet gun.
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