Hamilton County,TN -- What started out as a fishing expedition disguised as a window tint violation ended with two Hamilton County deputies placed on leave for strip searching and sodomizing a man suspected of possessing an illegal substance. Now, after the cops enjoy a months-long paid vacation, the taxpayers will be held accountable for their actions.
The victim in the incident, James Myron Mitchell has filed suit against the deputies, claiming the stop was for false allegations of a window tint violation which led to his horrifying treatment at the hands of two public servants.
As TFTP reported in July, deputies Daniel Wilkey and Bobby Brewer stopped Latisha Menifee (driver) and Mitchell (passenger) as they were driving in a Buick. As the stop began, Menifee was immediately handcuffed and brought to the rear of the vehicle. Mitchell was likewise handcuffed and brought to the front of the police cruiser and his following mistreatment was captured on dash cam footage. The stop, they were told, was over window tint. However, they would quickly realize this was not the case.
While in handcuffs Wilkey and Brewer can be seen groping Mitchell’s genitalia in an apparent search for drugs. Even though the traffic stop was reportedly about window tint, no tint meter appears to be used during the traffic stop.
The lawsuit says, "Wilkey then began to grab James' genitals. When James told Wilkey that (he) had an untreated and large hernia and that Wilkey's actions were causing (him) pain, Brewer and Wilkey jerked James' arms high above his back, and slammed James face-down onto the hot engine hood, causing injury...."
Also of interest was how quickly officers escalated their use of force against Mitchell claiming the handcuffed man, who was doubled over their police cruiser, was somehow “resisting” arrest. Mitchell simply appeared to be squirming as he was handcuffed on the hood of a car and sodomized by cops in search of a substance deemed illegal by the state.
According to the lawsuit, the deputies then beat Mitchell with "fists, knees, and feet," and slammed him to the ground. It was then, according to the lawsuit, that they removed his pants and shoes, while continuing to beat him.
As News 9 reports, the lawsuit says the deputies then picked Mitchell up and leaned him over the patrol car. It says Deputy Wilkey put on a set of gloves, pulled down his (Mitchell's) underwear, and "conducted an anal cavity search of James."
During the horrific event, the two law enforcement officers likely violated Mitchell’s 4th and 14th amendment rights as the search was provoked by a window tint violation. Mitchell was a passenger in the vehicle, not the driver, yet officers honed in on him.
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According to the lawsuit, Menifee watched in horror as Mitchell was sodomized on the side of the road in search of a plant. She also stated that she was afraid the deputies were going to kill Mitchell.
Then, after Mitchell was put in the patrol car, according to the lawsuit, deputies approached Menifee and "told her that she did not see anything," took off her cuffs and told her to leave.
A medical examination later revealed suffered "tearing in his anus, and multiple contusions," along with an aggravation of a hernia that eventually required surgery, according to the lawsuit.
Just like anyone else would have, the lawsuit says Mitchell suffered "mental anguish, fear of death or grievous bodily harm, and humiliation" from the horrifying treatment he endured.
Illustrating the entirely unjust and unnecessary roadside sodomy is the fact that all charges were dropped against Mitchell after the TBI concluded their investigation.
The optics of the police contact did not go unnoticed even drawing the attention of the NAACP. Mitchell looked in the video like someone who was profiled for search and seizure all over a stop for an alleged window tint violation.
Because the officers' actions went past department guidelines, they have both been suspended with pay. According to the Free Press:
Deputies can "strip search" a suspect, according to a copy of the sheriff's policy implemented in 2014. That's where deputies can ask an arrested person to remove or arrange their clothes to "permit a visual inspection of the genitals, buttocks, anus, female breasts, or undergarments." But a body cavity search takes it one step further and involves probing these body parts. Not only can deputies not conduct them unless they have a search warrant or specific written consent, but a licensed physician or nurse is supposed to do the body cavity examination in a "controlled and private environment," according to the policy, which is based on state law.
Sadly, this is standard operating procedure in the war on drugs. Find a car, invent some reason to pull over the vehicle, place the motorists in handcuffs even before they’ve committed a crime. Key in on the the occupants suspected of having a drug history. Search said individual even down to the bare skin and bones, then earn a two week vacation while a review board finds a reason to justify the sadistic act and then hold the taxpayers liable.