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Woman Claims Cop Conducted Illegal Body Cavity Search, Settles Lawsuit
EDGEWATER, Colo. -- A Colorado woman picked up $100,00 for two small bags of cocaine. It's all legal and you may not believe who wrote the check.
It all started with a traffic stop more than two years ago and now, the admitted crack carrier has a check for $100,000. All criminal charges against her have been dropped and the city's police chief said they did nothing wrong. So how can this happen?
Debi asked 7NEWS Investigators to protect her identity but she wants her story told.
She admits taxpayers will probably not like that the city paid her $100,000 to settle a civil lawsuit. Debi admits that she was trying to hide crack cocaine and she was trying to hide it in a place she thought no one would look.
During the traffic stop on a street corner in Edgewater, an anonymous caller told police that Debi stuffed something down her pants. When asked, Debi told officers that she was hiding crack cocaine in two small bags and theofficer searched Debi's genital area right on the street, she said.
In her lawsuit, Debi claimed Edgewater police violated her constitutional rights when a female officer conducted what Debi's attorneys call an illegal strip search and an illegal search of her body cavity.
Debi said during the search, she was naked below the waist for anybody on the road to see.
"It's not because they're just nice guys, OK? They're giving her $100,000 because what they did is absolutely outrageous," said Debi's attorney, David Lane.
Lane convinced attorneys for the city of Edgewater to avoid a trial and write the check.
"Taxpayers are giving away their taxpayer dollars because their police don't know the law," said Lane.
Edgewater's police chief disagrees.
"The city has maintained and will maintain that there is no wrongdoing on the part of our officers," said Edgewater police chief Dan Keough.
Even after the incident, not a single officer was disciplined, not a single policy changed.
Keough admits that Debi was charged with possession of illegal narcotics and then all the charges were dropped. However, he said his officers didn't do anything wrong, despite the fact that Debi has a check for $100,000 from the city of Edgewater.
"Well, all I can tell you is we dispute her version of events," Keough said.
Essentially, Edgewater's police chief said the crack-carrying woman lied about what happened on the street corner.
"We are maintaining that we never pulled this woman's pants down or remove any clothes to recover these drugs," said Keogh. He maintains that the officer didn't do a body cavity search.
But the fact is, the police department's own report contradicts the chief's statements. In the report, the officer admitted to using "two fingers" when she "pulled out" one of two small baggies from inside the woman's genital area.
When talking with Keough 7NEWS Investigator Tony Kovaleski asked, "There are people who are going to watch this and say, 'Caught with illegal drugs. All charges are dropped and you get a check for $100,000. Where do I sign up for that program?'"
Keough said, "Sure, I understand that."
Keough said some people may be outraged but he can't control that.
One person apparently not outraged is Edgewater's Mayor Robert Prewitt. He declined an interview on camera but said, "I have no idea why the insurance company passed out the money."
After being charged with a crime, having the charge dismissed and then getting a $100,000 check, Debi said she kinda feels like she won the lottery.
Debi's criminal attorney, Cynthia Sheehan, said, "Edgewater's insistence that the police did nothing wrong is patently absurd. The plain language of the police report is indisputable. The criminal case against (Debi) was dismissed and she was generously compensated. The Jefferson County District Attorney's Office doesn't just dismiss cases and municipalities don't just give away money. Obviously, they did something wrong. An honest admission of that coupled with a change in policy for future cases would seem like the right way to handle this."
So why were the criminal charges dropped? Although it happened with the previous administration, the current Jefferson County district attorney reviewed the facts and concluded criminal charges were dropped because there is physical evidence the drugs were in the woman's body cavity, which would make the search illegal. The prosecutor also said Edgewater police failed to meet the state's burden of proof.
and i can only imagine the cooter they had to search to get to the crack :shudder:
-------------------- To get really high is to forget yourself. And to forget yourself is to see everything else. And to see everything else is to become an understanding molecule in evolution, a conscious tool of the universe. And I think every human being should be a conscious tool of the universe. . . .
i really am glad you came back to us instead of taking the other path. *hug*
-A_S (RIP your final words to me will never be forgotten)