CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- South Charleston police have settled a lawsuit with a man who says he was subjected to a humiliating roadside strip-search by the department's officers.
Ivan Lee II alleged that on May 5, 2006, he was at the 7-Eleven on Second Avenue in South Charleston when he was questioned by police officers about a shooting. After the questioning, he drove away and was followed and then stopped again by officer D.P. Pauley.
When asked why he was stopped, Pauley told Lee, a high school student, that he "had committed several traffic violations and that [Lee] did not use his turn signals, none of which are true," according to the lawsuit.
Pauley then had Lee get out of his vehicle so he could handcuff and search him.
The officer then searched Lee's car without a warrant and, according to Lee, without his consent.
Pauley then decided to do a more thorough search on Lee, "This time unzipping his pants and feeling him over his entire body, including putting his hand inside the Plaintiff's underwear and searching his genital area, all done by the side of the road in full view of passing traffic," according to the lawsuit.
The lawsuit, filed by the American Civil Liberties Union of West Virginia, was filed against Pauley, three unknown South Charleston officers, Mayor Frank Mullens, Chief Brad Rinehart and officer Bobby Yeager.
The suit claimed the search was a violation of Lee's Fourth Amendment rights and was racial discrimination. Lee is black.
"I'm glad it's over and I'm ready to get on with my life," Lee said in an ACLU press release. "But I'll never get over the humiliation of what happened that day."
Since the incident, he has graduated from High Point University in North Carolina. He said originally he asked for an investigation into the incident and an apology from South Charleston police. He says they didn't respond.
Details of the settlement were not released.
Reach Gary Harki at gha...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5163.