Mpls. settles suit over illegal search

  • Article by: COREY MITCHELL , Star Tribune
  • Updated: November 18, 2011 - 9:27 PM

City will pay $76,500 after a judge ruled two officers violated law by pulling down man's pants in drug search.

Recardo Meeks

The Minneapolis City Council has awarded $76,500 to a man whose pants were pulled down and buttocks probed in public during a drug search by two off-duty police officers in 2009.

A $75,000 settlement and $1,500 in costs will go to Recardo Meeks and John Klassen, one of his attorneys.

Last month, U.S. District Judge Donovan Frank found that two officers, Daniel Anderson and David O'Connor, violated Meeks' Fourth Amendment right against unreasonable searches.

In the early morning of March 25, 2009, Anderson and O'Connor were in uniform and using a city squad car while working off-duty security at Little Earth of United Tribes Native American housing complex in south Minneapolis. The officers said they pulled Meeks over for speeding and swerving.

After a pat-down and search for contraband, they pulled down Meeks' pants and underpants. They reported fearing he had a firearm hidden between his buttocks cheeks. With the aid of a flashlight, O'Connor discovered several "nuggets" of marijuana between Meeks' buttocks during a cavity search.

A Little Earth security guard caught the entire incident on video, a factor that may have swung the case in Meeks' favor, one of his attorneys said.

Frank ruled that Anderson and O'Connor made no attempt to protect Meeks' privacy and that a "reach-in" to his underpants would have been less invasive. The city's response to Meeks' lawsuit denied that Anderson and O'Connor did anything unconstitutional.

Meeks is serving a prison term at Moose Lake after he pleaded guilty to being a felon in possession of a firearm in an unrelated case.

Corey Mitchell • 612-673-4491

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