Should the police get to conduct intrusive body cavity searches on the side of the road for no other reason than an officer insists he smells marijuana? All together now:
Oh, hell no!
Do we need to make cops everywhere go through a Fourth Amendment refresher course? How does any cop anywhere not know that this course of action is utterly, totally, and in all other ways unacceptable? You do not get to conduct body cavity searches on the side of a public highway! And for crying out loud, if you're gonna do it, at least have the good sense to have a "malfunctioning" dashcam. Because there is absolutely no mistaking what the officer is doing. I can't imagine anyone watching that video and not being horrified. If I were the lawyer defending the lawsuit (yes, the two women have filed a lawsuit, as they should have done), no way would I ever, ever want a jury to watch that video. A jury sees that video and the case is over.
I don't think I even need to bother explaining why this search is bad, bad, bad. It's self-evident, isn't it? If two people in a public place groped each other the way this cop groped these women, they would be arrested. It's way beyond the scope of a car search. I'm skeptical of the basis for the car search to begin with, as any defense attorney would be, because I can't even count how many times I've heard that "I can smell pot" line. Shoot, I've even heard of a cop swearing he smelled unburnt marijuana. Sure ya did, buddy. It's just the most convenient, unproveable, and oft-used excuse cops always come up with so they can search a car when they have no good reason to search. I've just never heard it used as an excuse to digitally penetrate a woman on a public street.
After finding absolutely nothing in these body cavity searches, the cops oh-so-kindly let the women go with a warning. As if that would make the women feel so grateful that they'd forget to complain to anyone about the outrageous abuse they'd suffered. Surprising that didn't work, isn't it?
These cops need to be fired. These women need to win their lawsuit. And, please, let's not make anyone else endure this kind of humiliation and abuse. Oh, and maybe we should all thank a public defender or civil rights attorney for challenging this kind of outrageous governmental behavior.
The female officer who actually conducted the cavity searches has been suspended with pay. The male officer has not been suspended, a fact I find curious. From my reading of the first story, I had the impression that he specifically called for a female officer, which led me to believe he intended for the female officer to conduct intrusive searches. If that is the case, he should also be suspended. Even if it's not the case, he sure didn't put a stop to the searches. Prosecutors regularly argue that kind of non-action makes my clients aiders and abettors. I don't see why that same logic shouldn't apply here.