A body-cam video that exhibits a New Jersey state trooper conducting a roadside strip search has sparked controversy and raised questions on how far legislation enforcement officers are permitted to go throughout a visitors cease.
Trooper Joseph Drew had pulled a automobile over for tailgating and stated he smelled marijuana. When a search of the automobile turned up nothing, he handcuffed the motive force and informed him to step out of the car.
“You’ll be able to inform me the place it’s proper now or I can go in and get it,” Drew says on the video.
The trooper is then seen pulling on blue latex gloves, reaching into the motive force’s underwear, and groping his genitals and buttocks whereas the 2 stand on Route 206 in Southampton, Burlington County. All of the whereas, vehicles and vehicles cross by on the busy freeway.
The motive force, a 23-year-old Toms River, N.J., man, insisted a number of occasions he had no marijuana and stated he doubted such a search was authorized.
No medicine have been discovered within the man’s automobile or on his physique, and ultimately he was issued a ticket for tailgating. The motive force has filed discover of intention to sue, alleging that he was sexually assaulted and that his civil rights have been violated.
Earlier, the trooper checked the person’s pockets and socks and ordered him to show over medicine, the footage exhibits. Then he informed him, “In the event you suppose that is the worst I’m going to do, you will have one other factor coming, my buddy.”
Specialists in policing have been essential of the trooper’s actions.
Maria Haberfeld, a professor of policing and police ethics at John Jay Faculty of Legal Justice and an writer of a number of books on the topic, stated the search was unwarranted.
“To succeed in into somebody’s underwear, it must be for a very good cause, not for marijuana,” she stated. “Within the occasions when marijuana has been legalized in state after state, that is some form of erratic police habits — and it’s very a lot about discretion, so even when you are able to do issues, do you have to be doing them?”
State Police Inner Affairs is investigating the incident, which occurred on March 8, 2017. Drew and a backup trooper, Andrew Whitmore, are nonetheless on patrol pending the end result of that inquiry. Neither may very well be reached for remark, and their union, the New Jersey State Police Fraternal Affiliation, stated it must test with its lawyer earlier than releasing any assertion on the matter.
The incident got here to mild final week, when the video was posted on the web site of John Paff, who heads New Jersey Libertarians for Transparency, an open authorities group. Paff obtained the body-cam and dashcam movies of each troopers after submitting open public data requests in January. He was checking the courtroom docket, as he does routinely, and got here throughout the motive force’s authorized submitting.