Clayton County, Georgia has had a series of incidents involving public strip searches conducted by officers of the Forest Park Police Department on victims via allegations of drinking and driving.
Victims of Strip Searches Turn to Courts for Justice
The Forest Park police conducted a series of false arrests and illegal strip searches on victims under the pretext that they were testing for DUI violators, alleges a lawsuit brought against the VIPER unit of the department. Georgia DUI attorneys for the plaintiffs further allege that the strip searches were conducted without any probable cause or search warrants for arrests.
A Series of such Searches made by the VIPER Unit
Plaintiff Terry Philips related to Channel 2’s Kerry Kavanaugh that he was told to unbuckle his pants without plausible reason.
Another plaintiff Jeffrey Meehan says that he was asked to pull his pants down, squat, and cough.
These men assert that being stopped in traffic in 2013 meant that the Forest Part police officers would strip search them in public. Terry’s friend, Tamara Parker, said she saw tears in his eyes after the search. Parker says that she was leaving a grocery parking lot in a car with Terry Phillips when they were pulled over by an officer for an expired tag. Even though they told the officers that they had supporting paperwork, the officer refused to listen.
Jeffrey Meehan is allegedly another victim. He said that he was in the back seat of a friend’s car when the driver was stopped for not using a blinker. Meehan claims that they were stopped when the car was pulling out of a parking lot and making a right turn. He alleges that the officer searched him three times. During the searches when he asked why he was being put under arrest, the officer retorted that he was not under arrest but would be sent to jail if he did not do as asked, Meehan related to Kavanaugh.
If the Viper Unit is trying to be like Vic Mackey’s Striker Unit in The Shield they are not even coming close. Mackey went after the toughest of the tough, not innocent people.
Another couple says that Park officers broke into their house while they were sleeping at night and without a search warrant, seized some of their property and put them in jail. Jennifer Minor claims that they came into the house with guns and threw the occupants on the floor. They allegedly went through the house picking out stuff as if in a pawn shop, said owner Reginald Walker.
DUI Attorneys Allege Violation of Fourth Amendment
The lawsuit alleges that people and houses were searched without probable cause or reasonable suspicion where the extent of the searches included body cavities in public. Attorney for Reginald Walker says that taking clothes off people, pulling their pants down and exposing them, and conducting searching without probable cause or a warrant is downright unlawful. He further alleged that this is a widely accepted practice of the department.
Even though this sort of behavior violates the Fourth Amendment, it does not apply to the Forest Park Department, said the attorney. Therefore, the lawsuit is aimed at the VIPER unit whose members consist of Forest Park Department officials.