The civil rights of Black men have been under attack for years, with the Trayvon Martin case bringing to America’s attention that, once again, all things are not equal in the “Land of the Free.” The latest in the round of barrages against African-American men, especially those in urban environs, took place in the Supreme Court this morning.
Today, the Supreme Court ruled, via a 5-4 vote, that invasive strip searches in jail are a necessary component in maintaining safety and security in both male and female prisons. Some see this as a direct violation of privacy rights. With the High Court’s vote, it immediately struck down a challenge from Albert Florence, a Black man who argued that the strip search was illegal and unconstitutional. Florence and his legal team fought to no avail, with the court majority stating the difficulty jail officials have of determining how dangerous a criminal may be.
The irony of Florence’s case was that he wasn’t even in the wrong. In 2005, he and his wife were stopped by a New Jersey state trooper who then arrested Florence for an unpaid fine although he actually did pay what he owed. Subjected to two strip searches and stints in two county jails over six days, Florence was released with little apology from the New Jersey cops who failed to correctly update his records over a minor issue. In effect, the high court’s ruling today simply states even those with minor offenses should be treated like the most heinous criminals in the land.
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