Lawsuit filed against Rock County deputies alleges illegal roadside body cavity search

The American Civil Liberties Union of Minnesota (ACLU-MN) on Wednesday filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court against the Rock County sheriff and two deputies.

The lawsuit alleges Deputies Dallas Hamm and Shelley Douty forcibly conducted a cavity search on the side of a road in below-freezing temperatures in 2018. Sheriff Evan Verbrugge is also named in the lawsuit, which accuses them of violating state law and the Fourth Amendment prohibition against unreasonable searches and seizures.

According to the filing, Deputy Hamm pulled a driver over in Luverne in November 2018 due to a dangling air freshener. It alleges Hamm searched the driver without probable cause and then turned to the female passenger and ordered her to stand next to Hamm's squad car without her coat.

While it was nine degrees outside, the deputies allegedly tried to perform a cavity search of the woman on the Interstate 90 on-ramp. The lawsuit claims the deputies had no probable cause to lawfully conduct a cavity search.

The ACLU-MN also claims that the deputies wouldn't allow the woman to get into the police car to warm up because she'd lost her privilege to do so, and they also denied the woman's requests to conduct a legal search "the right way" at the police station or a hospital.

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