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Law Enforcement: New York Man Wins Settlement in Forced Body Cavity Search Suit

Submitted by Phillip Smith on (Issue #595)

New York's Albany County and Albany Medical Center Hospital will pay $125,000 to a New York man who was first strip-searched and then hospitalized and sedated against his will while hospital employees at police direction inserted a camera in his rectum in search of contraband. That is according to the out of court settlement agreed to over the weekend to end a federal lawsuit brought by the victim.

The victim, Tunde Clement, was arrested at the Albany bus terminal in March 2006 when he stepped off a bus from New York City. Sheriff's investigators suspected the ex-convict was carrying drugs, but found none in his backpack. He was then handcuffed, taken to the police station, and strip-searched. Again, no drugs were found. Then police took him to Albany Med, where doctors forcibly sedated him against his will.

While under sedation, doctors inserted a camera in his rectum and scanned his digestive system with X-rays. They also induced vomiting and took blood and urine samples to test for drugs and alcohol. They found nothing. After 10 hours in custody, Clement was charged with resisting arrest and released on his own recognizance. An Albany judge later threw out that charge.

Sheriff's investigators never obtained a search warrant for the procedure, nor did hospital officials require them to produce one. Normally, people under arrest cannot be forcibly sedated without a court order unless they are in imminent danger. Although hospital records indicate Clement was behaving normally and showed no signs of any medical emergency, hospital officials and police considered their desire to search his body "a medical emergency."

Clement subsequently filed a federal lawsuit against Albany Med and several doctors and nurses and against Albany County, Sheriff James Campbell, Inspector John Burke, who heads the dope squad that arrested Clement, and eight investigators assigned to the unit. He claimed his civil rights were violated and that he was the victim of assault and battery when officials and doctors strapped him down and injected him with sedatives against his will.

Now, the county and the medical center will pay for their misdeeds. Or, more precisely, local taxpayers will. Perhaps that will inspire local taxpayers to demand that law enforcement shape up and that medical personnel not be willing accessories to abusive law enforcement practices.

Permission to Reprint: This content is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license. Content of a purely educational nature in Drug War Chronicle appear courtesy of DRCNet Foundation, unless otherwise noted.


Anonymous (not verified)

if cops were personaly responsable for the crimes they commit in the name of failed drug policy .until then they will abuse everyone while we pay

Fri, 07/24/2009 - 12:59pm Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

The War on Drug is the most destructive set of laws on the books. It has allowed law enforcement to become both militarized and out of control. We are essentially an occupied country, with citizen freedom and privacy a thing of the past. Home invasions, routinge abuse of citizens, tasering, killing, (i.e., murder)--by the police--is now considered part of the status quo.

As far as I'm concerned, "resisting arrest" should be eliminated as a reason for any kind of police action. Throwing people on the ground and "subduing" them by violence is probably unnecessary in 90% of cases. We are living in a vicious police state, folks. Only Scotland is worse, among Western nations, with one surveillance camera for ever 12 citizens in its capital. How did we lose our civil rights? Via the War on Drugs.

And our Dear Leader allows it to continue, for political reasons.

Fri, 07/24/2009 - 1:24pm Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

Claire Booth Luce said: "Drugs should be only for the elite". She could NEVER have a camera shoved up her tight, virinal bung hole...

Fri, 07/24/2009 - 2:57pm Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

This story should be front page news across the country as an example of how out of control, immoral and unconstitutional the so called war on drugs is. How many more people will suffer such morally base civil rights violations at the hands of those who are supposed to uphold the law? Some will even be killed. That man should have been awarded $125 million, not $125,000. THAT would have made an impact. I hope he will file civil suits against all parties as well and prevail in court.

Fri, 07/24/2009 - 2:58pm Permalink
iowhen (not verified)

This man was raped by law enforcement and hospital staff. What can possibly justify such an action?

Fri, 07/24/2009 - 3:48pm Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

I gotta say, that's not bad.
I understand a lot of cops are good, and respect and admire cops when they act right, but something's gotta be done about these piece of garbage laws that try to force people to use killer alcohol instead of other drugs.
And the way they're enforced! The Albany cops and hospital did a full Gestapo on this one!

Sun, 07/26/2009 - 8:14pm Permalink
Jean Boyd (not verified)

I have been reading Drug Policy Chronicles for over ten years and have been disgusted by most of the events that take place by enforcement in the name of the Drug War. But this case of Tunde Clemente and the Albany Sheriffs Dept and the Albany Medical Center really got to me. I only wish Mr. Clemente had taken it to court and sued for millions. Even that will never take away the anguish and terror this man has been put through by ignorant, sadistic, and small minded police and doctors. How could the doctor actually go along with that. Yes, this is truly a holocaust and it sickens me that more people are not aware. Wake up Americans, Your government and police force are at war with their own people. For almost 100 years now.

Sun, 07/26/2009 - 8:38pm Permalink
Madscientist (not verified)

As a former resident of NYS, what with all the taxes, fees and other ways of ripping you off, all I can say is that the government has found another way of fucking people in the ass!

Fri, 07/31/2009 - 9:50pm Permalink

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