Oakland Strip Search Lawsuit: City Loses Case And Must Pay Plaintiffs Big Bucks
At the conclusion of a non-jury trail on Thursday, U.S. District Courts Judge Marilyn Hill Patel ruled two Oakland Police Department officers violated the rights of Kirby Bradshaw and Spencer Lucas when they forced the men to stand naked on a crowded street at 8 am near the intersection of 32nd Street and Martin Luther King Jr. Way in Oakland while the officers searched them and their vehicle.
Patel said there was no reasonable cause that the men had committed a traffic violation or any other violation of law, the officers hadn't observed any illegal conduct and had no reasonable basis for believing that any of the occupants were on parole.
Noting that Bradshaw, Lucas and the third man were black, Patel said, "Three black men in a moving vehicle does not create reasonable suspicion."
Patel ordered the city of Oakland to pay the men $100,000 each; however, she has yet to decide how many additional dollars the city owes Bradshaw and Lucas in putative damages.
The Chronicle reports:
Both men estimated that their pants were down for five to seven minutes. Nothing illegal was found on either man, but Bradshaw was arrested on an outstanding warrant and Lucas had his parole revoked and served five months after police found a pellet gun at a Richmond home "with little basis for a nexus to Lucas," Patel wrote.
The men were stopped on a busy street, and "had Officer Mayer wanted to conduct a strip search of either Lucas or Bradshaw, he agreed he could have done so at the jail or at other private facilities available to him," Patel wrote.
This case is part of a larger lawsuit against the Oakland Police Department that includes 39 other men who claim to have similarly been unlawfully strip-searched. All of the plaintiffs in the suit are being represented by high-profile civil rights attorney John Burris.
The rest of the trials are temporarily being put on hold because Judge Patel is retiring.