A horrifying new dashcam video shows at least one white member of the Aiken, S.C. Police Department search inside a black man’s rectum for the apparent crime of being a passenger in a car with paper tags, which, it bears noting, is not a crime in the state of South Carolina. Driving a car with paper tags isn’t illegal either, as long as they aren’t expired.
The Washington Post reports the car belonged to a woman named Lakeya Hicks, who had the paper tags because she had recently purchased the vehicle. Hicks’ tags weren’t expired, and a check on her license came up clean. But the cops didn’t let her go.
Instead, Officer Chris Medlin asked the passenger, Elijah Pontoon, for identification. Pontoon, who has a criminal record, was ordered out of the car and handcuffed. In the video, Medlin explains his legal rationale: “Because of your history, I’ve got a dog coming in here. Gonna walk a dog around the car.” Also: “You gonna pay for this one, boy.”
The k9 arrives but find no contraband. The cops search the car but find no contraband. This evidence does not lead them to conclude there was no contraband. This evidence apparently leads them to decide to search Pontoon’s asshole.
Audio from the video suggests all they find was a hemorrhoid. At the same time, according to a federal lawsuit filed on their behalf, a female officer was searching Hicks, exposing the woman’s breasts to the other three male officers and anyone else who happened to be on the road.
Again, no contraband was found.
Later, a dejected Medlin can be heard on the radio speaking to a superior after the fruitless search.
“We search the car. There ain’t nothing in the car... And on a search of him, up in his crotch by the butt, I felt something hard. I lifted his pants and pulled the back of his underwear down and I didn’t see anything but I didn’t get all the way up in there to get no vertical up shot. I just pulled his underwear back, but I didn’t see nothing. But it felt, he said it was a hemorrhoid. It ain’t no... it was a rock. It was a rock of crack. It’s gotta be a rock. He’s got it up in his butt.”
Medlin sadly concludes, “But there ain’t no way to justify. He said, ‘I got nothing here. That’s a long time ago. I ain’t doing nothing.’ He said it’s a hemorrhoid. I got nothing else to go on. Nothing. Yeah we’re gonna have to cut him loose here.”
Who needs probable cause to perform an invasive search? Apparently not Medlin.