BTR News (New Jersey) – Jack Levine says New Jersey State Police, wearing gloves, searched his genitals and buttocks because they smelled weed during a traffic stop which resulted in him only being given a ticket for a minor traffic violation back in May of 2017. The encounter was caught on police body cams and the 2017 video was uncovered by another person doing random open record requests. Levine, who was never told he was under arrest and after the invasive search produced no weed, filed a lawsuit in New Jersey state court. The attorney for Levine said that the police used delaying tactics in releasing the video possibly trying to run out the clock on the time required to file lawsuits in New Jersey.
It is disturbing that with so many violent crimes including sexual assaults being committed, New Jersey police are finding the time to harass people and strip search people over suspicions of possessing a plant which is legal to grow and use in many states including the nation’s capital. New Jersey has been known to be very anti-weed.
The police consul of New Jersey’s chapter of the ACLU in 2017 said, “Well over half of all Americans support legalization, but more people are arrested for marijuana possession in our state than ever before,”.
The Fourth Amendment of the US Constitution states, “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”.
Given the non-violent nature of the alleged offense, possession of a small amount of weed, any reasonable person would hold that the invasive search of Mr. Levine was unreasonable. Mr. Levine was never placed under arrest and protested the search of his person and the New Jersey police did not have nor sought a warrant.
More troubling is that in 2012, the United States Supreme Court which has, unfortunately, become an enabler of the police state that exists in the United States, ruling in Florence v. Burlington, that “any person arrested can be subject to a strip search — even for a minor offense or traffic violation — without any reason to suspect that they may be carrying a weapon or contraband,” the ACLU reported at the time of the decision.
It is these types of abuses that place the United States among the most repressive nations on earth evident by the prison and jail population, which is the largest in the world.