A federal judge has ruled that Oakland police officers performed unconstitutional strip-searches of two black men they pulled over as part of an unnecessary traffic stop, and must pay $100,000 to each victim as a result.
U.S. District Court Judge Marilyn Hall Patel found that Ofc. Ingo Mayer, in the presence of his partner and a parole officer, pulled over Kirby Bradshaw and Spencer Lewis with "no reasonable suspicion" to justify the traffic stop. Mayer then forced them to strip while he searched them in front of a gathering crowd, at one point asking Lucas if he had any "dope in your butt cheeks."
While Lucas was on parole and Bradshaw had an outstanding arrest warrant, the judge found that Mayer "deliberately,
callously and oppressively violated plaintiffs' Fourth Amendment rights," which prohibit illegal searches and seizures. She wrote:
... the strip searches were conducted in public view which witnesses, both friends and strangers, could view. Plaintiffs testified to their humiliation and feelings of degradation as a result of this public spectacle as well as the subsequent recurrent memories of feeling terrorized. The testimony of the feeling of "submissiveness" also speaks to the sense of degradation. This feeling is particularly poignant when viewed in light of the history of young black men in this country.