Miami police officers are permitted to conduct a search of an arrested person so as long as they aren’t violating the suspect’s rights and their actions do not violate their department’s policies. In order for a police officer to conduct a search such as a strip search, Florida law has set specific guidelines that must be followed. For instance, Florida statute § 901.211 says that “no person arrested for a traffic, regulatory, or misdemeanor offense, except in a case which is violent in nature, which involves a weapon, or which involves a controlled substance, shall be strip searched unless” the following exists:
- There is probable cause to believe that the individual is concealing a weapon, a controlled substance, or stolen property.”
To be clear, a strip search “means having an arrested person remove or arrange some or all of his or her clothing so as to permit a visual or manual inspection of the genitals; buttocks; anus; breasts, in the case of a female; or undergarments of such person.”
In the event an officer decides he/she has probable cause to conduct a strip search on an arrested suspect, it “must be performed by a person of the same gender as the arrested person and on premises where the search cannot be observed by persons not physically conducting or observing the search pursuant to this section.’ Florida law also requires that “any observer shall be of the same gender as the arrested person.” When a cavity search is being performed, it “must be performed under sanitary conditions.”
Important: You should also know that before a law enforcement officer in Miami can conduct a strip search, he/ she must obtain written authorization from the supervising officer on duty. If a police officer in Miami conducted an invasive search that violated Florida law and your rights, you should contact a police brutality lawyer in Miami, FL who can provide you with legal advice that can help you make an informed decision on how to address the issue.
Miami Police Officers Violate Law After Forcing Woman’s Pants Down While Looking for Drugs
It was around 5:00 p.m. when several officers in Miami conducted a strip search on a woman who they believed had narcotics in her possession. The Miami New Times reported that the search occurred on a sidewalk near Mana Wynwood during broad daylight. The suspect, who was identified as Wendy Matute, “screamed for help on the ground [while] two male Miami police officers held her arms down [and] a female officer held her legs apart.” Another female officer “unzipped Matute’s shorts, pulled them partway down, and reached inside to grab three baggies of suspected drugs.”
The news source said that the invasive search conducted by the officers “violated both Florida law and Miami Police Department Rules which require a supervising officer to sign off and forbid male officers from being involved.” Matute later filed a complaint from jail after being arrested and an internal affairs investigation cleared the female officer who retrieved the drugs “ruling [she] felt the need to retrieve the narcotics before transporting Ms. Matute because, if not, Ms. Matute would tamper and destroy [them].” An independent Civilian Investigative Panel (CIP) determined that the internal affairs reasoning was “nonsense because Matute was handcuffed and [was in] no position to destroy the drugs in her pants.”
Based on the CIP’s findings, it “recommended that the panel sustain allegations of misconduct against [the female officer] for violating department policy and Florida law.”
Who can help me take legal action against a Miami police officer or department for violating my rights during a strip search?
Mario Trespalacios P.A. is a police brutality law firm located in Miami, FL that can help you take legal action against an officer who violated one or more of your rights. If you would like to speak with a police brutality attorney now to find out how they can help you, contact this firm at 305-261-5800.
Mario Trespalacios P.A. is located at:
9495 SW 72 Street, Suite B-275
Miami, FL 33173