Picture this: It’s September 2017, you’re hanging with buds outdoors, planning your upcoming birthday celebration when suddenly you find yourself the subject of an invasive stop and frisk.
Invasive as in ‘body cavity search’ invasive.
That’s apparently what happened to M.B. Cottingham, a 39-year-old man, in the Bellevue neighborhood of Washington, D.C. last fall.
According to the New York Post, Nottingham and his buddies were chilling when up rolled two police cars. More than a couple police officers approached the group and inquired as to whether they were carrying any weapons.
This is where it gets down in the underbrush on the way to Poughkeepise.
Cottingham alleges, and there’s video tape (naturally), that Metropolitan Police Department Officer Sean Lojacono violated Cottingham’s 4th Amendment rights regarding unreasonable searches and seizures.
Nottingham openly admitted having a legal amount of marijuana on him, but Lojacono took things farther when he went for the ’search and seizure’ according to ACLU staff attorney Scott Michelman, who is representing Cottingham.
As you can see on the video from the incident, Lojacono goes beyond the every day ‘pat down.’
This 'search and seizure' goes a bit farther as Lojacoco gets his hands (and maybe his thumbs) all up in Cottingham’s business.
Via The New York Post:
“He stuck his finger in my crack, man,” Cottingham said to his friends during the search, video shows. “Don’t do that, man … I don’t have nothing.”
Cottingham then followed the officer’s instructions to squat down to allow the search to continue, but the officer continued prodding far beyond the standard scope of a pat-down, according to ACLU officials, jamming his fingers into the man’s buttocks and anus and grabbing his scrotum.
“Stop fingering me though, bruh,” Cottingham told Lojacano. “You fingering my a–, man.”
“I’m outside your pants, bro,” the officer replied. “Relax.”
“Don’t sit here and finger my a— like that, like I’m not a man,” Cottingham said.
Michelman says the video clearly shows a “violation of [Cottingham’s] constitutional rights and basic dignity.”
“When a routine frisk turns into a search this invasive, the officer is not pursuing a legitimate law enforcement purpose but simply degrading someone and asserting his own power,” Michelman said in a statement to the press.
Apparently, Metropolitan Police Department chief, Peter Newsham, noted during a DC Council hearing last week that he has seen the video and considers the officer’s ’touching’ inappropriate.
The NY Post goes on to say that Cottingham says he has ‘discomfort in his genital area,’ as well as ‘ongoing anxiety, depression and fear of being in public.’
“I’ve never been so humiliated in my life,” Cottingham told the NY Post. “It’s bad enough that members of my community are stopped and frisked by the police all the time. I’ve been frisked many times and even beaten by police. But this officer treated me like I’m not even a human being.”
Check out the video, readers. What do you think?
(h/t New York Post)