The St. Louis police department is facing a lawsuit from a woman accusing a female officer of performing an unnecessary and public cavity search following a routine traffic stop.
Kayla Robinson, who was 24 at the time of the October 2012 incident, claims in the lawsuit obtained by Riverfront Times that Robinson was riding in a car with two other people following a St. Louis Cardinal’s game when Officer Angela Hawkins and her partner pulled them over, after the care made a U-turn. After witnessing what the officer, as described in her incident report, believed to be Robinson attempting to conceal drugs in her underwear, Officer Hawkins allegedly took the woman from the car, handcuffed her, and pushed her against a tractor-trailer about 200 feet away, demanding to know where “the dope and the guns” were.
Robinson admits in the lawsuit that she did have a small bag of weed, which she relinquished. But she insists there were no other drugs with her or in the car, something she says she repeatedly told officers. But she reportedly could not convince Hawkins, who allegedly insisted the cavity search be performed there by the tractor-trailer, despite Robinson’s pleas to have it conducted at the police station.
The lawsuit claims that Hawkins called for another officer to bring her rubber gloves, and that officer, a male, witnessed Hawkins’ allegedly bend Robinson over and put her hand in her vagina to search for additional drugs. After failing to find any, Robinson claims that Hawkins “slammed her with excessive force” into the trailer.
Robinson had earlier filed a complaint with the Department of Internal Affairs, but was not satisfied with the result: She was reportedly told that Hawkins would be “disciplined,” but no further details were provided.
In November, Robinson’s attorney Jeremy Hollingshead filed a lawsuit against the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department on behalf of his client, who is black.
“This is indicative of the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department,” Hollingshead told Riverfront Times. “They do it every single day. They target African Americans, oftentimes from northern areas of the city, and they try to shake them down. They make false allegations, threats against them, and their hope is that somebody is going to be weak enough to roll over and provide information to them.”
This is one of the most corrupt police departments in the country. They just don’t learn,” he continued. “I know Kayla’s hope is that is that a jury finally hits the city with a big enough number so the city says ‘OK, fine. We’re going to stop doing this.’”
A spokesperson for the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department declined to comment to Riverfront Times about the ongoing litigation.