Watch out, OPD is illegally strip-searching folks!
Seven Oakland residents have sued the city of Oakland claiming that police officers improperly strip-searched them on city streets. There is a federal suit asking for $5 million and an end to the practice, because people have been humiliated and their civil rights have been violated.
The OPD is the only force that has a written policy that allows officers to publicly strip-search suspects, which according to attorney Michael Haddad, an attorney jointly filing this suit, is â€œunconstitutional and especially troubling because all but one of the plaintiffs is African American.â€ The policy also stipulates that the search must be conducted so that the public cannot observe the suspect. I guess the officers in question forgot about this little detail, huh?
The seven strip-searches detailed in the lawsuit, occurred from October or January 2007, all in East and West Oakland and were witnessed by passersby and in one case the family of the person arrested. Coincidence? I think not! Blacks and Hispanics largely populate these two parts of Oakland.
Now, considering the department is supposed to be under strict scrutiny stemming from the Riders scandal, one would think that there would be no room for something this blatant and unbelievably inappropriate, but no, we have yet more instances where our distinguished â€œmen in blueâ€ have chosen to let their biases, prejudices and hatred take front and center when dealing with the community, particularly those of color and low income.
When will this abuse end? Because thatâ€™s exactly what this is. Abuse. Whether it is physical or mental. These officers are not seeing members of our community as men and women worthy of respect. They continue to operate with an â€œus against themâ€ mentality and it has got to stop. We have to continue to stand up for one another and find ways to hold these officers accountable for their shameful behavior.