WPC will be compensated for strip search at police academy

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A female police officer who was strip searched while in police academy training in 2020 will receive $200,000 in compensation for violations of her right to privacy.

He was made to take off all his clothes, bend down and cough.

The officer claims that even she told her elders that she was menstruating but was still subjected to the strip search in the female dormitory.

The incident took place in connection with a reported theft of $2,100 in cash left by a male intern in his locker, which was unsecured.

In awarding him compensation, Judge Margaret Mohammed called the incident ‘very unfortunate’, as it was committed by senior police officers ‘who should have known the law of conduct appropriate in the circumstances of this case. “.

She said the court was aware that the officer and other trainees, upon graduation, were required to go out and interact with the public while exercising police powers, which included searches.

She said that in her opinion, the former trainees were treated in an authoritarian and arbitrary manner and that the violation of their rights sent them the wrong signal that it was an appropriate way to treat members of the public.

Although recognizing the right to privacy was not absolute and a police officer can search a person without a warrant once he has reasonable and probable cause, in this case the officer who searched him had no evidence to believe she stole the money.

At the academy, male and female trainees are housed in one building in two dormitories separated by floors and accessed by exterior stairs. CCTV cameras that cover these exterior stairs. The dormitories are forbidden to people of the opposite sex and housed a total of 194 trainees at the time of the events.

In response to the complaint, the state acknowledged that ordering the ex-trainee to undress, bend down and cough violated his right to privacy.

Even so, the judge said, to prove that there was no violation of the officer’s right to privacy, the attorney general, who was named as a defendant in the constitutional claim, had to show that the he officer who conducted the search had reasonable and probable cause to suspect that the trainee had the stolen money.

Mohammed said without doing any preliminary investigation, such as interviewing people and reviewing video recordings, the decision was made to search the trainees. This, she said, was arbitrary and the proof is that the search was called off for no reason.

On the issue of damages, the state agreed to damages to enforce the officer’s right to privacy, as the degree of intrusion of the strip search was disproportionate to compared to the objective of recovering the stolen money.

During the sentencing, Mohammed said it was necessary to demonstrate the court’s complete disgust with the conduct of the officers.

“It is also necessary to send a signal to other state officials that such conduct will not be tolerated and will deter similar offenses in the future.”

When the judge assessed the amount of compensatory damages, she said the officer’s evidence was that she was on her period and didn’t want to take her underwear off. She also said she felt embarrassed when she found out other trainees learned about the incident and when she graduated, other officers did as well.

The officer was represented by attorneys Lee Merry, Rebecca Rafeek and Larry Boyer. Stefan Jaikaran, Chelvi Ramisson and Hillary Mudeen appeared for the state.

Brandon D. James