New York, NY —
The city has agreed to pay $33 million in a class-action settlement to 100,000 individuals who were illegally strip-searched at city jails between 1999 and 2007.
One plaintiff, 39-year-old David Sanchez from the Bronx, was told to strip after arriving at Rikers Island in 2006 for possessing pot.
"I squatted. I grabbed my butt cheeks. Wow, it's like a blur now, but I had to run my fingers through my hair, through my mouth. I had to grab my genital area and lift it for them," he says.
All the plaintiffs were arrested for low-level offenses, like jumping turnstiles, shoplifting, and trespassing. Mass searches as described by plaintiffs are illegal if there's no suspicion that they're carrying contraband.
The original lawsuit was filed in 2002.