Feature

France: Don't look to the U.S. for freedom

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that police have the power to strip-search anyone placed under arrest, even for minor offenses.

Jean-Sébastien StehliLeFigaro.fr 

So much for the land of the free, said Jean-Sébastien Stehli. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled this month that police in that country can strip-search anyone, “even in the case of a minor offense, and even if there is no reason to suspect a felony or crime.” The high court held that there was nothing “excessive or degrading” about being forced to appear naked before an officer of the state. “Such a loose conception of freedom is difficult to grasp.” Up until now in the U.S., as in other Western, democratic nations, the police were allowed to conduct a body search only if they had cause to suspect an arrested person of hiding weapons or drugs in a body cavity. But now American police have free rein to act like “the pre-Khrushchev KGB”—and don’t think they won’t. Experience suggests that once a police force anywhere is granted a given power, it tends to start using that power more and more. This appalling ruling came from the conservative justices, who supposedly stand for a less intrusive government. “It seems that, in fact, their idea is of a government that intrudes less into the pockets of the wealthiest. That is their idea of democracy.” 

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