After April ruling, Pierre, Sisseton, Wagner and S.D. Highway Patrol to pay $440,000 in forced catheterization settlement

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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — After an federal ruling in April deemed forced catheterizations for urine samples by South Dakota law enforcement unconstitutional, a U.S. District Judge has approved a settlement. 

In April, the American Civil Liberties Union of South Dakota along with Rapid City attorney Jim Leach won a lawsuit based on the Fourth Amendment against the City of Wagner, Wagner Police Department, City of Pierre, Pierre Police Department, City of Sisseton and Sisseton Police Department and the South Dakota Highway Patrol.

In the case, plaintiffs argued they were held down and subjected to involuntary catheterization after police obtained search warrants for urine samples to detect drugs in violation of the Fourth Amendment’s unreasonable searches. None of the search warrants used by law enforcement specifically authorized forced catheterization as a way of collecting evident. 

The settlement agreed in August and announced by the ACLU on Wednesday, has the cities of Pierre, Sisseton and Wagner and former South Dakota Highway Patrol Officer Adam Woxland  agreeing to collectively pay a total of $440,000 in damages, legal costs and attorney’s fees.

In the April ruling, U.S. District Judge Roberto Lange wrote: “The plaintiffs were not smuggling drugs or weapons in their urethras and bladders, and the catheterizations would only provide evidence of drug ingestion rather than the more serious crime of drug trafficking. … Ingesting drugs is one of the least serious drug crimes a person can commit.”

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