While most eyes were on a new agreement to fix Oakland’s Police Department, the City Council finalized a whopping $4.6 million settlement for 39 men strip-searched by officers in public, reports the San Francisco Chronicle. That comes to about $118,000 per pants drop. The case centered around cops ordering suspects out of their cars, then strip-searching them in full view of passers-by. “It was really all about humiliating them,” said attorney John Burris.
Burris is also one of the lawyers pressing a federal judge to appoint a receiver for the Police Department to oversee reforms ordered in a separate case. In response, the city agreed to hand extensive powers to a court monitor. The alternative was to risk having U.S. District Judge Thelton Henderson impose even stricter limits on the city. The timing of the two cases has City Councilman Ignacio De La Fuente mad. He noted that the city had won three of the five lawsuits brought so far by strip-searched plaintiffs. “We just caved to the attorneys because we didn’t want to send the ‘wrong signal’ to the judge,” he said.