Cops Called Out for Forcing Catheters on Suspects

'There’s a lot of screaming and hollering'
By Michael Harthorne,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 5, 2016 3:57 PM CDT
Cops Called Out for Forcing Catheters on Suspects

Police in South Dakota are forcing catheters onto some uncooperative suspects—“They don’t anesthetize them,” one lawyer says. “There’s a lot of screaming and hollering”—and critics say the practice could be unconstitutional, the Sioux Falls Argus Leader reports. While forced catheterization has been going on in South Dakota—and elsewhere—for years, a new case challenging the practice is drawing attention. Dirk Sparks was suspected of having taken drugs earlier this year. When he refused to provide police with a urine sample, they strapped him to a hospital bed and forced a catheter up his penis. He allegedly tested positive for THC and meth and was charged with felony drug ingestion.

Sparks' lawyer is trying to get the urine sample thrown out, claiming it violates his client's Fourth Amendment rights, which protect against unreasonable search and seizure. “I can’t imagine anything more intrusive than this,” the president of the South Dakota Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers tells the Argus Leader. And an ACLU legal director says forcing a catheter on a suspect of the opposite gender "would border on an unlawful assault, battery, or rape." However, South Dakota Attorney General Marty Jackley says the practice is legal, and it's ultimately up to the suspect to decide if they want to provide a urine sample the easy way. Read the full story here. (More South Dakota stories.)

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