Recently released video footage of White Aiken, South Carolina police officers conducting an anal search on an innocent Black man on a busy street is causing outrage. Police stopped a car containing Lakeye Hicks and her passenger Elijah Pontoon. The initial reason for the stop was that the car was newly purchased and had unexpired temporary tags. Driving on temporary tags is not illegal as long as the tags are not expired. This did not stop Aiken Police Officer Chris Medlin and other officers from engaging in an unwarranted search of the vehicle as well as humiliating an innocent man, Elijah Pontoon.
In the video, Officer Medlin appears to be the prime instigator of this illegal traffic stop. After running an ID check on the pair, it was discovered that Pontoon had a prior criminal record with a last arrest occurring in 2006. Medlin is then heard saying, “You’re going to pay for this one, boy” and brings a drug sniffing police K9 to the scene.
Pontoon was not wanted on any charges or warrants; however, he was searched by two officers. The initial body search of Pontoon found nothing which seemed to have shocked the officers. Then one officer states, “You’ve got something here right between your legs. There’s something hard right there between your legs.”
With these statements, a 3-minute anal search took place on the side of a busy street. Pontoon is heard protesting that the lump between his legs was a hemorrhoid but the officers keep digging for drugs. Then one of the cops states, “If that’s a hemorrhoid, that’s a hemorrhoid, all right? But that don’t feel like no hemorrhoid to me.” The other unidentified officer is heard saying, “It’s a rock. It’s a rock in the crack. It’s gotta be rock. He’s got it up in the butt.”
Despite the officers determined investigation, nothing is found. Medlin is heard off camera talking to his supervisor about the incident. He says, “We search the car. There ain’t nothing in the car… and on a search of him, up in his crotch by the butt, I felt something hard. I lifted his pants and pulled the back of his underwear down and I didn’t see anything but I didn’t get all the way up in there to get no vertical up shot. I just pulled his underwear back, but I didn’t see nothing. But it felt, he said it was a hemorrhoid. It ain’t no… it was a rock. It was a rock of crack. It’s gotta be a rock. He’s got it up in his butt. But there ain’t no way to justify. He said, ‘I got nothing here. That’s a long time ago. I ain’t doing nothing.’ He said it’s a hemorrhoid. I got nothing else to go on. Nothing. Yeah we’re gonna have to cut him loose here.”
In addition to the humiliating anal search, Hicks stated the officers made her publically expose her breasts and shake them when she was searched.
The incident occurred in October 2014 but now it is the subject of a federal lawsuit filed by Pontoon and Hicks over the traffic stop, which is being called invasive and illegal. The officers involved as well as the City of Aiken are being sued.
The Aiken city government issued the following statement: “The City of Aiken denies the Plaintiffs’ allegations and is vigorously defending this lawsuit. We will have no further comment about the facts of this case during the pendency of this litigation.”
The video footage was released as part of the evidence in the lawsuit. The video can be viewed on the next page: