Syracuse, NY — A Syracuse man who was forcefully knocked out and probed anally for drugs in October 2017 plans to file a lawsuit against those responsible, he confirmed this morning.
Torrence Jackson, 42, told Syracuse.com | The Post-Standard he hadn’t originally planned to file a lawsuit because he was still traumatized by the Oct. 16, 2017 forced sigmoidoscopy at St. Joseph’s Hospital Health Center.
Based on the wishes of Syracuse police and the blessings of a judge, Jackson was knocked out and a colonoscope was inserted 8 inches up his rectum. No drugs were found. He suffered tears that caused him to return to an emergency room the following day for bleeding.
His case was resolved with a plea to a traffic ticket.
But the pain lingered for far longer. Jackson, who has a history of antagonism with police, said he was afraid what might happen to him next.
“I was scarred, mentally,” Jackson said today, pointing to his head. “I was messed up.”
But his mother told him the only way he was going to stop police from doing something again was to file a lawsuit, Jackson said. His criminal lawyer, Charles Keller, referred him to a Manhattan police brutality lawyer.
That lawyer, Fred Lichtmacher, has won multiple large settlements for victims of police misconduct. He won a $235,000 settlement in the case of a 23-year-old man who was dragged across a chain-link fence and attacked by a police dog over charges that were latter dropped, according to media reports.
He won a $1 million settlement for a man walloped by a police baton, $535,000 for a female cop subjected to sexual harassment and $125,000 for a man falsely arrested in retaliation by the New York City police, according to media reports.
Closer to home, Lichtmacher has filed lawsuits against Syracuse police for the shooting of a woman during the infamous Father’s Day riot in 2016 (still pending), the death of an armed woman shot by cops in 2016 (dropped) and the alleged beating of a Liverpool man in 2014 (still pending).
Lichtmacher confirmed that he was taking Jackson’s case in the forced drug search, but said he hadn’t yet reviewed the case file.
Jackson said he would not put a dollar figure on the amount he’s looking for. He said only he wants those responsible “to take care of me.” But he also said that cops should not overstep their bounds when doing proactive police work.
“I want accountability,” Jackson said. “Just because I had a record in the past didn’t give them the right to violate my rights now.”
Jackson was back in court this morning for a subsequent arrest in which he’s accused of stashing a gun and drugs at a South Side residence. Jackson says he didn’t even know the residence existed and vowed to fight the charges. He’s been freed on bail — his family put up their house as collateral — as that case continues, he said.
Neither Jackson nor Lichtmacher said who exactly they’re planning to sue or in which court the suit will be field. Syracuse.com | Post-Standard reported that actions by Syracuse police, City Court Judge Rory McMahon and St. Joe’s all contributed to the anal search.
The lawsuit could potentially be filed in state court — perhaps as a claim against the government, called an Article 78 — or in federal court as a violation of Jackson’s Constitutional protection against illegal search and seizure.
Jackson said he’s received a “heartfelt” response from those he knows after Syracuse.com’s story about his forced procedure. Before the story ran, he said, it was hard to tell anybody about the search because it was too embarrassing.
Douglass Dowty, , Syracuse.com, “Syracuse man to sue over anal probe by police, hospital: ‘I want accountability’”, https://www.syracuse.com/crime/2019/01/syracuse-man-to-sue-after-rectum-probed-for-drugs-i-want-accountability.html