young women were strip searched

Discussion in 'World News / Current Events Forum' started by joe117, Apr 13, 2008.

  1. joe117

    joe117 Elite Refuge Member

    Dec 29, 2004
    ST. AUGUSTINE BEACH, FL -- A settlement has been reached between the St. Augustine Beach Police Department and three college students who filed a lawsuit against the agency.

    In September 2006, St. Augustine Beach Police officers arrested 14 people for underage possession of alcohol at a house party.

    Three of those fourteen were Kelly Boese, Leah Melton, and Jessica Wedemyer.

    According to court documents, those three Flagler College students had a zero reading on a breathalyzer test when they were taken to the St. Johns County Jail.

    The charges against the three students were dropped, and they filed lawsuits against the St. Augustine Beach Police Department and the St. Johns County Sheriff's Office which runs the jail.

    St. Augustine Beach Police Chief Richard Hedges told First Coast News Friday the city's insurance carrier settled the lawsuit out of court. He said, "One of the major reasons was the St. Attorney's Office decided not to prosecute the case."

    The students will be paid close to $100,000.

    Hedges said his all of his officers went through additional training after the incident. He also said his officers were not found at fault.

    When asked if his officers did the right thing by arresting the three girls in 2006, Hedges said, "Although there were other options they could've taken, they chose to arrest the people."

    The three students have also sued the St. Johns County Sheriff's Office. This suit is still going through the court system.

    The law suit says the young women were strip searched when booked into the jail.

    Sheriff's Office Spokesman Sgt. Chuck Mulligan said, the students were not strip searched at all.

    He told First Coast News, "We maintain that what was conducted that evening in question was a clothing exchange -- not a strip search. A strip search would have required these three individuals be removed from our jail, and taken to the hospital for the search. That's part of the procedure."

    Mulligan said the young women were "instructed to shower and change because they could not bond out immediately. As in our policy, in order to go to the cell blocks, one has to be appropriately attired and clean before they enter the cell block area."

    Phone calls to the students' attorney have not been returned as of Friday evening.

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