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Judge: Mpls. police illegally strip-searched man in traffic stop

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A U.S. District Court judge says two Minneapolis police officers illegally strip-searched a man during a 2009 traffic stop.

In the early morning hours of March 25, 2009, officers David O'Connor and Daniel Anderson made a traffic stop for a speed limit violation in south Minneapolis according to court records.

The officers claimed they smelled marijuana coming from the car. They asked driver Recardo Meeks to step out of the car so they could search him and the vehicle for drugs.

During the pat down, O'Connor said he felt a bulge in the back of Meeks' pants. The officer testified that he was concerned the object was a gun. The officers handcuffed Meeks and pulled down his pants and underwear on the street and shined flashlights on him.

They found tissue paper protruding from Meeks' buttocks that contained what officers described as several nuggets of marijuana.

The whole traffic stop was captured on the squad car's video cameras. Meeks' attorney Andrew Muller said his client was exposed for three to four minutes and the officers didn't make an attempt to shield his body from any onlookers.

Muller said the officers gave him a petty misdemeanor citation for marijuana possession and a misdemeanor citation for driving with a suspended license.

Meeks is suing the city for violating his constitutional rights. Muller said in December a jury will decide how much harm the illegal search did to his client.

Police officials and the city attorney's office will not comment on Frank's ruling because Meeks' suit is still in front of the court.