‘Stop Fingering Me, Bro’: Man Sues After Cop Allegedly Grabbed His Butt and Scrotum During Search

On Wednesday, D.C. man M.B. Cottingham, 39, sued a local cop, and claimed the officer repeatedly touched his genitals and between his buttocks during an invasive search. His attorneys with the American Civil Liberties Union claimed the Metropolitan Police Department’s Sean Lojacono stepped over the line.

“No warrant, probable cause, reasonable suspicion, or consent justified the scope of these probes, which were conducted in broad daylight in public and with no other discernible reason than to humiliate and degrade Mr. Cottingham and to display the officer’s power over him,” they wrote in a complaint filed in D.C. federal court. The plaintiff team argued this search violated Cottingham’s Fourth Amendment rights.

As seen on video, an officer (identified as Lojacono) is performing a search on a man in grey sweatpants (Cottingham).

The subject protests, turning to say the cop grabbed between his buttocks.

“He stuck his finger in my crack,” he said.

The officer handcuffed him in response, and continued to search.

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

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

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

The officer insisted he was touching outside the man’s pants.

“Look, man, that’s still my asshole, man,” said Cottingham.

Lojacono finishes the search, and removes the handcuffs. He and the officers leave the scene.

“I’ve never been so humiliated in my life,” said Cottingham in a statement. “It’s bad enough that members of my community are stopped and frisked by the police all the time. I’ve been frisked many times and even beaten by police. But this officer treated me like I’m not even a human being.”

According to the complaint, the incident happened last September 27. Cottingham and his friends were celebrating his birthday when officers in two vehicles confronted them about an open container of alcohol, the lawsuit said.

From the complaint:

It is not clear from the circumstances what legitimate law enforcement purpose the officers could have had in stopping their cars and confronting this group of African-American men. The bottle of alcohol could not have been seen from the middle of the street because it was on the ground at the curb behind a parked car. None of the men was armed.

Under questioning, Cottingham pulled from his sock a bag containing less than an eighth of an ounce of marijuana, the lawsuit stated. (In D.C., it is legal for people 21 and older to possess up to two ounces.)

Cottingham did give Lojacano permission to search him, but the ACLU lawyers wrote that the cop went way too far in what should have been a limited pat-down.

Law&Crime reached the Metropolitan Police Department by phone Wednesday evening. We were told to send an email about the case, but were advised that they usually don’t comment on pending litigation. Lojacono, the sole named defendant, could not be reached for comment.

[Screengrab via Soup Visions on YouTube]

  1. Mediaite
  2. The Mary Sue
  3. RunwayRiot
  4. Law & Crime
  5. Gossip Cop
  6. AmboTV