An ice cream vendor and father of three is suing a Washington, D.C., police officer for an invasive physical search during a stop and frisk.
M.B. Cottingham, who is 39 and Black, filed a complaint American Civil Liberties Union over the officer’s conduct, Vice News reports. According to the complaint, Cottingham was hanging out in lawn chairs with friends last September when the police pulled up.
Officer Sean Lojacono found that Cottingham had less than an eighth of an ounce of marijuana, which is a legal quantity to possess in Washington, D.C., in his sock. Cottingham then consented to a pat-down.
“Officer Lojacono reached immediately between Mr. Cottingham’s legs, grabbed his scrotum, felt around with his hand, and stuck his thumb in Mr. Cottingham’s anus,” the complaint says.
The search was captured in a cellphone video. Cottingham tells the officer, “stop fingering me, bro,” in the clip.
In an incident report, Lojacono stated he was searching for drugs. According to D.C.’s chief of police, since the incident Lojacono “has been removed from that particular unit” and “disciplined for that matter.”
“I’ve never been so humiliated in my life,” Cottingham said in a statement. “It’s bad enough that members of my community are stopped and frisked by the police all the time. I’ve been frisked many times and even beaten by police. But this officer treated me like I’m not even a human being.”
H/T Vice News