JSO bodycam video shows officer conducting strip search on public street

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Public outcry after a Jacksonville man was strip searched on a public street, as first reported by Jacksonville news outlet, The Tributary.

While there is a pending drug case against the man involved, police officers with The Jacksonville Sheriff's Office did not find any drugs on him.

First Coast News obtained a copy of the bodycam video. In the video, police can be seen unbuttoning his pants and physically examining his private area and his backside.

The arrest happened on Sept. 9, 2022. Police believe the 45-year-old suspect was selling drugs near a gas station on the 3000 block of Phillips Highway. First Coast News is not naming the suspect in this case for now.

His arrest report shows an undercover officer gave a homeless man $20 to buy drugs. The report shows police officers witnessed the co-defendant and the suspect interact. Authorities said the buyer returned with crack cocaine in hand. That's when police officers went after the suspect.

In one body camera video, an officer seen arresting the suspect. He asks what is the officer checking for. The officer didn't answer but said "just relax" as he was putting handcuffs on him. In the second video, an officer is seen putting on gloves. This time, more police are at the scene and the suspect is still handcuffed.

"Let's loosen up the pants here," the officer said.

"They already loose, bro," the suspect replied.

The video showcases an officer reaching into the front of the man's underwear, exposing his genitals. Afterward, they tell him to turn around and he's told to lean forward. At that point, the man's butt is exposed. He tells them, "you're doing too much." Someone replied, "No, I'm not." The suspect even suggested doing the search at the jail.

"He's clenching hard, he's got something up there," an officer said.

Jacksonville attorney Curtis Falgatter, who is not representing anyone in this case, told First Coast News he has never seen a strip search like this in public. He described the arrest as unusual.

"You know, when you arrest someone, you can certainly pat him down and see if they got any weapons or any drugs on him." Fallgatter said. "But starting to do body strip searches is not the norm."

The attorney believes this procedure was more of a cavity search. He said that requires a warrant. Plus, that kind of search is conducted at the Duval County Jail. First Coast News' crime & safety expert Mark Baughman said he's conducted strip searches before during his law enforcement career.

"It's not a pleasant thing to do," Baughman said.

He thinks officers could have done the search in a more private setting. In the video, the man is telling his aunt to back away from the scene.

"Might've been better to hold off, take him down the road," Baughman suggested.

Although no drugs were found on the suspect, he was still charged with drug possession. He was arrested for selling cocaine. Jury selection for his trial is set May 15.

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