Saturday, September 30, 2023
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Court Revives Man’s|Strip-Search Claim

(CN) - The 9th Circuit reinstated a man's claim that two San Francisco police officers violated his constitutional rights by strip searching him for no reason after he was picked up for trespassing.

Erris Edgerly sued the city and county of San Francisco, officers David Goff and John Conefrey, and Sergeant Fredrick Schiff, claiming he was strip searched in violation of the Fourth Amendment.

Edgerly was arrested for trespassing in the Martin Luther King/Marcus Garvey Housing Cooperative, where he told officers he was just "hanging out."

After being taken in, Edgerly claimed he was strip searched, even though officers had no reason to believe he was carrying weapons or drugs. Edgerly said officers found nothing on him, though the police denied strip searching him.

The district court dismissed Edgerly's claims against Schiff, but allowed him to sue the officers over the alleged strip search. After reviewing all the evidence, the district court later dismissed the remainder of Edgerly's claims.

The three-judge panel in San Francisco upheld dismissal of the claims against Schiff, but revived the constitutional claims against the officers.

Assuming Edgerly's version of events is true, the court ruled, the strip search violated his constitutional rights.

"A reasonable jury could find that the officers' search of Edgerly at the police station was unreasonable, in violation of the Fourth Amendment," Judge Richard Paez wrote.

The panel remanded Edgerly's claims of emotional distress and negligence against the officers and the city.

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