In a lawsuit filed last month against Charlotte-Mecklenburg police in North Carolina, two men claim officers violated their civil rights by assaulting, kidnapping, and subjecting them to illegal searches.
According to the suit, Jeramie Barideaux and Jonathan Harris were sitting in a car outside the Rodeway Inn on Brookshire Boulevard in April 2014 so they could listen to music from a local performer and talk about making some music of their own.
At around 10 p.m., the men claim CMPD officer Michael Wallin parked his patrol car in front of them before Sgt. John Gorrod and officer Michael Bodenstein arrived and the cops demanded to search their vehicle.
Barideaux, the owner of the car refused to consent to the search, saying he had done nothing wrong, the lawsuit says – but officer Wallin ordered him out and began searching him anyway.
The men say officer Bodenstein then frisked Harris, “aggressively searching [his] genitalia and buttocks,” and asked why he appeared nervous.
The lawsuit says Bodenstein then told Harris that he believed he was hiding cocaine in his anus before searching him two more times and leading him into a hotel room where he had to strip for a cavity search.
The men say they were illegally searched without warrants, their consent and in violation of the Fourth Amendment a total of seven different times during the course of the encounter.
They say that after their rights were violated, Bodenstein told them, “you boys can go home now.” No drugs were found and no arrests were made in the incident.
The lawsuit names the officers, CMPD, former police Chief Rodney Monroe and the city of Charlotte as defendants. It alleges unlawful search and seizure, assault, kidnapping and negligence – and is seeking compensatory and punitive damages.
According to the suit, Harris and Barideaux “were improperly seized without probable cause or reasonable suspicions,” and “were denied liberty without justification in violation of the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments.”
“The seizure was unreasonable and undertaken in malice, willfulness, and reckless indifference,” the suit adds. “The officers’ conduct was extreme and outrageous exceeding all bounds of human decency.”
The cops were reportedly responding to a 911 call about a suspicious vehicle in the area but officials have not commented on the circumstances of the encounter or the allegations made by the men.