ACLU All But Declares Victory with Settlement in ‘Stop Fingering Me, Bro’ Lawsuit

The American Civil Liberties Union announced Thursday that they settled a lawsuit with D.C. cop Sean Lojacono, who was sued for allegedly grabbing M.B. Cottingham‘s scrotum and buttocks during an invasive search in September 2017.

The ACLU says video proves that the cop went way over the line in searching Cottingham. The plaintiff protested numerous times during the incident.

“Stop fingering me, bro,” said the man identified as Cottingham.

“Stop moving,” said the officer identified as Lojacono.

“You fingering my ass, man,” said Cottingham.

The settlement amount is undisclosed. The District of Columbia paid on Lojacono’s behalf, and they admit no wrongdoing, but Scott Michelman, Legal Co-Director of ACLU-DC, spun the circumstances to his organization’s favor.

“Although the District did not admit responsibility, its actions to fire the defendant police officer – an unusual step – and to settle the case for a substantial amount speak louder than words,” he said in a news release obtained by Law&Crime. “The fact that the settlement was reached on the eve of the District’s deadline to disclose information about Officer Lojacono’s extensive disciplinary history suggests MPD officials were worried what the documents would show regarding how long they ignored or tolerated his problematic behavior. We hope police officials learn they need to be proactive in disciplining officers who fail to respect community members’ dignity and constitutional rights.”

The ACLU said that discover would’ve covered information from more than 20 internal investigations involving Lojacono.

The officer’s attorney of record did not immediately respond to a Law&Crime request for comment.

The MPD moved in September to fire Lojacono. He is appealing the decision.

“The officer remains on non-contact status pending his adverse action hearing,” MPD spokesperson Brianna Jordan told Law&Crime when we reached out for a statement about the settlement, and asked about the officer’s employment status. Police did not address the ACLU’s announcement.

“The most important thing to me is that Officer Lojacono can’t do this to anyone else,” said Cottingham. “I filed this lawsuit because I want policing in D.C. to change. By firing Officer Lojacono and by settling the case for an amount that shows respect for the humiliation I suffered, MPD has sent an important message to its officers that they must treat everyone with respect. I hope MPD is committed to enforcing that principle.”

Note: Added a response from the MPD.

[Screengrab via Soup Visions]

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