Monday, October 29, 2012

Police and Nurse Sexually Assault Suspected Drug User on Judge's Order

     This is disgusting series of articles.  The facts of the story are taken from, Man sues law enforcement over "forced catheterization" reported by Fox 16 New in Salt Lake City.

SALT LAKE CITY — A 22-year-old college student has filed an $11 million federal lawsuit against police in central Utah, claiming they forced a catheter in him after he refused to consent to a search for marijuana.

The former Snow College student said he was smoking cigarettes with friends back in 2008 when police approached their car, parked on a roadside in Ephraim. His lawsuit, filed in February in U.S. District Court, claims police searched the young men and their vehicle. The police claimed they could smell marijuana, but could not find any during a search, Cook claims.
After a K-9 still could not find marijuana, an officer popped the trunk and found a glass pipe inside. Cook claims the officers then asked him to drive his friend’s car to the police station.
Cook said he believed that after driving his friend’s car to the police station, he thought he would be free to go. Instead, he was put in a holding cell and officers demanded he take a drug test.
“I asked for an attorney because I didn’t know if this was right what they were doing,” he said. “Once I did that, they said ‘We’re getting a search warrant so we’re going to have your urine by the end of the night.’ “
Police obtained the warrant, his lawsuit claims, and they drove him to Sanpete Valley Hospital. After being told that a catheter would be inserted into his body to obtain urine, Cook said he said he would consent to giving a sample but became “nervous” and could not urinate.
Cook was arrested for marijuana possession and resisting arrest. Jarvis said the resisting arrest charge was for refusing to give a urine sample. She accused police of “bullying” people with forced catheterization.
Forced catheterization is a relatively new issue in the courts. A similar lawsuit was filed by a woman in 2008 against police in neighboring Sevier County. It was dismissed after a federal judge ruled the officers acted without malice and their intent was to “bring her to justice” for the charges she was facing at the time.
Stirba noted that Cook reached a plea in abeyance to a marijuana possession charge. A plea in abeyance means a defendant admits guilt, but if they commit no further violations of the law — the case is dismissed. Cook said he entered into the plea after a search warrant challenge was rejected.

     These seem to be the facts, Steven Cook was in his parked car smoking cigarettes when police approached him.  They claimed they could smell marijuana, although a search with a drug dog didn't find any pot they did find a pipe.  So they took him to jail and demanded he take a drug test.  He asked for a lawyer before consenting and the police got a search warrant for his urine.  When they took him to a hospital he couldn't urinate because he was nervous (wouldn't you be?), the police hold him down while a nurse removes his pants and inserted a catheter into his penis.  Then he is charged with resisting arrest for refusing the drug test.  There is so much fucked up about this story, here are some quotes from Stephan Cook, Cook’s attorney, Lindsay Jarvis, Peter Stirba, defense counsel for the Sanpete County and Cook's mother  Holly Ziegenhorn, who is a fellow police officer for a different city.[1]  
“I don’t think it’s right what they did,” Cook told FOX 13 on Thursday. “I’m pretty sure they’re doing it to other people. They made me feel like an animal.”“The nurse told (an officer) to hold my shoulders, so he held my shoulders and then the nurse undid my pants, wiped me down with iodine and put the tube in me,” Cook told FOX 13. “And then they took me to jail.”“I want them to be accountable for what they did,” Cook said.
"It's kind of a bully tactic.  It's the most intrusive search or seizure that can be performed.  We're talking about taking off somene's pants and inserting something into their body," says criminal defense attorney Lindsay Jarvis.“This is being used as a punishment to try and get them to comply,” she said. “Rather than employ a simple blood test, they’re forcibly catheterizing these people.”
"We have requested medical records from Sanpete County hospital, and the hospital doesn't have a record that my client was ever present, so I don't know what they got right here," says Heideman. Criminal defense attorney Lindsay Jarvis calls the forced catheterization the ultimate violation of her client's civil rights. "I would say anybody who's in that position would feel as though they were sexually assaulted - yes.  You've got a female nurse who is unbuttoning his pants while another invidivual holds him down.  And then, they stick an object into his private parts."
 "This is a story of contemptive cops.  He (Stephan) wouldn't voluntarily pee, and they were gonna do whatever it took to get his urine - period," said Stephan Cook's mother Holly Ziegenhorn. “Whatever happened to him in terms of the catheterization was done pursuant to a warrant,” said Peter Stirba. “A bodily fluids warrant issued by a judge, under the auspices of a court order.”
    Make no mistake this was a sexual assault on a 22-year-old young man at the hands of police,  the criminal justice system and the medical profession.  Because it was done "pursuant to a warrant...issued by a judge under the auspices of a court order" it was therefore completely legal and no one involved in the assault will ever be charged with a crime.  This is what happens to human rights when wars are fought.  The United States of America, land of the free, is in the midst of an inquisition-like persecution of illicit drug users.  Since the drug wars are a case of a very powerful government brutally suppressing a relatively powerless minority (illicit drug users), the issue is never framed in this way.
    After obtaining the warrant they could have given him a few hours to drink fluids and urinate on his own accord (or take a blood sample), but because he was a suspected drug user and demanded that his constitutionally protected rights against unreasonable search and seizure be respected, he was sexually assaulted.  Drug users are so stigmatized that the medical profession, whose maxim is to first do no harm, apparently saw nothing wrong with holding down a young man, removing his clothing and inserting a plastic hose through his penis and into his bladder to collect his urine.  Surely Cook won a lot of money in his lawsuit, right?  Not so fast.
Prior to filing his civil lawsuit, Cook fought the case in criminal court, where he accepted a plea of abeyance.  The agreement allowed him to admit to one count of possession of marijuana and a fine, in exchange for dropping the rest of the charges against him.  According to Cook's legal team, the federal judge dismissed his civil lawsuit partially due to the fact that Cook had previously admitted guilt. However, both Cook and his attorneys say the plea of abeyance was made under duress.   The attorneys, who plan to appeal, say the ruling to dismiss the case on those grounds is just plain wrong. "Irrespective of whether he committed this crime, that's irrelevant to whether they're entitled to forcibly catheterize him," said attorney Justin Heideman. Peter Stirba, defense counsel for the Sanpete County officers issued this statement in response to the dismissal of the lawsuit: "The officers' behavior was fully justified and certainly was not violative of any of Mr. Cook's constitutional rights."  [Bold added -Ed]
Cook wants to keep fighting and move forward with an appeal.  He says he does not want another person to have to go through what he did. "I never wanted this to happen.  I'm willing to stand up for everybody else who can't," said Cook.
I guess the federal judge who dismissed Cook's lawsuit thinks that the Bill of Rights are just some pretty words that only apply to real human beings, the people who don't use illicit drugs.
[1] Quotes culled from these three stories from Fox and ABC  affiliates. 

1 comment:

  1. These cops are pieces of shit as is the judge that ordered this. I can only hope that their kids get raped under the same circumstances so he can feel the guilt and pain of his family member going through the same damn thing! Karmas a bitch and these cops and the judge will be accountable for their actions some how!