Do you think forcing a catheter into a child or any human being to collect evidence is a barbaric practice that no police officer or other agent of the state should be allowed to commit?
Then you should support the American Civil Liberties Union of South Dakota, which is taking the South Dakota Department of Social Services, Avera St. Mary’s Hospital, Pierre police officers, the Sisseton Police Department, and the South Dakota Highway Patrol to federal court for committing this atrocity:
Two lawsuits have been filed; one on behalf of a three-year-old child who was forcibly catheterized as a means to collect evidence of child abuse or neglect, and the other on behalf of five adults who were subject to forcible catheterization as part of criminal investigations. All plaintiffs were subjected by law enforcement and state officials to forcible catheterization in violation of the Fourth Amendment’s protection against unreasonable searches and the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.
…“Forcible catheterization is painful, physically and emotionally damaging, and deeply degrading,” said Heather Smith, Executive Director. “Catheterization isn’t the best way to obtain evidence, but it is absolutely the most humiliating. The authorities ordered the catheterization of our clients to satisfy their own sadistic and authoritarian desires to punish. Subjecting anyone to forcible catheterization, especially a toddler, to collect evidence when there are less intrusive means available, is unconscionable” [ACLU of South Dakota, press release, 2017.06.29].
The three-year-old in question in the first lawsuit had a catheter forced into his urinary tract to get evidence of his mother’s boyfriend’s drug use. The five adults named in the second lawsuit were subjected to similar torture to obtain evidence of their own alleged drug use. One plaintiff, Cody Holcombe, agreed to provide a urine sample but was catheterized anyway because Pierre police thought he was “taking too long.”
As the state is a defendant, Attorney General and gubernatorial candidate Marty Jackley will need to explain why forcing objects in people’s urinary tracts is an acceptable practice.