Lawsuit alleges illegal strip-search by HPD officers - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

Lawsuit alleges illegal strip-search by HPD officers

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Sampson claims officers used excessive force to strip-search her in open view of the public, among other things. Sampson claims officers used excessive force to strip-search her in open view of the public, among other things.
HUNTSVILLE, AL (WAFF) -

A Madison County woman claims she was illegally strip-searched by Huntsville police officers.

Shanetha Sampson is suing the city of Huntsville and three unnamed Huntsville police officers. She filed the lawsuit [PDF] last Wednesday.

Sampson claims officers used excessive force to strip-search her in open view of the public, among other things. The alleged incident happened July 24, 2013.

Sampson said she was driving on Woodson Road near Holmes Street when an officer pulled her over for not using her turn signal.

She said two more officers showed up and began questioning the passenger in her car. In the suit, Sampson claims she asked the officers if she could use her cell phone to record the questioning, but the officers said no. Her attorney, Martin Weinberg, said that the officers violated her First Amendment freedom.

Sampson claims the officers made her get out of the car and put her hands on the hood of the car, which was extremely hot.

That's when she said a female officer exposed her back side to the other officers and to the public. Sampson also claims the officer rubbed her entire body, including her breasts and genital area.

In the lawsuit, she also describes the officers doing an extensive search of her car. Sampson claims they ripped and damaged the interior.

Weinberg said the officers had no probable cause for the strip search, or the vehicle search. The lawsuit also claims Sampson was falsely arrested and held without cause.

WAFF did reach out to the Huntsville Police Department, but we were told the department will not comment on a pending case.

Weinberg is demanding a jury trial and is asking for damages and to be paid for cost of the suit.

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