BOSTON (CN) – Police officers in Massachusetts improperly strip-searched a woman and televised the search throughout the police station, the 2nd Circuit ruled.
Stacy Hartline sued the village of Southampton, Mass., and its police officers. She said the officers did not have suspicion to warrant the strip search, which took place after an officer found marijuana in her truck.
Hartline noticed the camera trained on the area where she was searched, and on the way out of the police station, she noticed the monitor, which an officer confirmed gave a view of the search area.
Judge Wesley ruled that the district court improperly ruled in favor of the officers and village. The judge ruled that she was searched “in the absence of reasonable suspicion that she was secreting contraband on her person.”
The officer never asked Hartline if she was carrying drugs and did not conduct a less invasive pat-down search, the judge noted.
Also, Hartline was wearing appropriately bulky clothing in January, and she readily admitted to the marijuana in the truck.
Finally, the defendants admitted that Hartline did not waive her Fourth Amendment claim regarding the telecast of the strip search.