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NJ state trooper to be sued for sexual assault after invasive search of suspect on side of road
A New Jersey man intends to sue a state trooper over an invasive search that took place in March 2017. (Image source: YouTube video screenshot)

NJ state trooper to be sued for sexual assault after invasive search of suspect on side of road

A routine traffic stop turned into a drug search, which then turned into a sexual assault case after bodycam footage of a March 2017 incident involving a New Jersey state trooper was released, KYW-TV reported.

What happened?

New Jersey State Trooper Joseph Drew pulled over a 23-year-old driver on March 8, 2017, for allegedly tailgating another vehicle.

When Drew approached the vehicle, he reportedly smelled marijuana, and used that as justification to search the vehicle. No drugs were found.

"You're under arrest for the odor of marijuana," the other officer, Andrew Whitmore, told the driver at one point.

Drew ordered the driver out of his vehicle, and put him in handcuffs. He later put on latex gloves and began searching for marijuana inside the driver's pants and underwear for nearly four minutes on the side of the road, while the driver at times mocked the situation and at other times protested that he was being sexually assaulted.

"If you think this is the worst thing I'm going to do to you, you've got another think coming my friend," Drew said earlier in the encounter.

Drew eventually wrote the driver a ticket for tailgating and informed him that if he felt officers had been unprofessional in any way, he could report the incident. No drugs were found in the driver's possession.

Here is a video of the entire incident. The search in question occurs at the 14:30 mark:

Going to court?

This incident came to light after John Paff, the chair of the Open Government Advocacy Project and head of New Jersey Libertarians for Transparency, shared the video on YouTube.

The driver has filed official notice of his intent to sue the officers on the grounds that his civil rights were violated and that he was sexually assaulted.

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