Florence v. County of Burlington was the case, and the background is more loaded than most realize.
Albert W. Florence was a passenger in his BMW when his wife was pulled over for speeding in 2005. Their small child was in the back. Mr. Florence, being a black man driving a nice car in America, was weary of the police. So, when he paid a previous fine, he kept documentation of it in the car.
When the police who pulled over his wife ran his ID as well, department records listed his fine as unpaid, and that a warrant was out for his arrest. He showed the officer documentation that the fine had in fact been paid, but he was arrested anyway.
What followed his arrest was jail, and two extreme strip searches. Once the mistake was recognized, he was released, and took his false arrest and invasion of privacy charges to court. Fast forward to 2012, the supreme rules on his case 5-4 that strip searches by the police are reasonable for any offense, no matter how minor.
If you’ve never undergone a strip search by police, you should ask someone who has. Being forced to strip naked is not all it is. You have lift any dangling private parts, squat and spread your backside region. This procedure can be done at any time, repeatedly. It can be done when you are transferred from one jail to another, which is common given overpopulation, e.g. arresting too many Americans – around 13 million every year. Humiliating and degrading doesn’t even begin to cover the experience.
The highest court in our nation has given the green light to civilian police, who are increasingly being trained in military tactics, and given military equipment, to behave like a private security force. Every American, no matter the seriousness of the supposed crime is the enemy. President Obama’s signing statement on NDAA doesn’t mean much if being detained in police custody garnishes the same type of humiliation and unconstitutional treatment as military custody.
If this is how America is going to treat misdemeanor offenses, imagine the impact this will have on peaceful protestors, and political dissidents. Kiss your 1st and 4th amendment rights goodbye… and then spread your cheeks.
Supreme Court Ruling Allows Strip-Searches for Any Arrest