Kimberlee Carbone says she was pulled over under the pretext of not “apply[ing] her turn signal at least 100 feet before the intersection” as per Pennsylvania law, before she was forced to endure five hours of humiliation. Officer David Maiella had made the stop after seeing a man “briefly enter an apartment” and then get into Carbone’s car that he suspected of buying drugs, according to the lawsuit.
Fifteen minutes into the stop, New Castle Police Chief Robert Salem and Lawrence County District Attorney Joshua Lamancusa made their way to the scene and interrogated the two about whether or not they were in possession of illegal substances.
Carbone insisted that she and her passenger had no drugs but the officers didn’t believe her,the lawsuit says, so the cops then fabricated a story that they smelled the odor of burnt marijuana wafting from the car. Carbone then arrested her for driving under the influence without having a sobriety test administered, and the officers conducted a pat down and search of the vehicle that found nothing.
According to the lawsuit, once at the Lawrence County Correctional Center, Carbone was strip-searched and forced to “bend over, spread her buttocks, and cough” before two corrections officers made the claim that they saw a plastic bag protruding from her vagina.
Carbone was then instructed by her to “prod her personal areas by inserting her fingers into her vagina,” bend over, spread her buttocks, and cough again as she was “crying hysterically,”the lawsuit states. No drugs were found at the jail so the officers sent Carbone to Jameson Hospital for “an internal examination of her body cavities… for a possible overdose, rectal packing and/or oral intake of a controlled substance.”
After nothing was found and no drugs were detected in Carbone’s urine, the officers remained convinced that she “might have something located deeper in her vagina and rectum,” so she was subjected to an involuntary CT scan, which also didn’t find anything, according to the suit.
During the scan, Carbone says that she was told by D.A. Lamanusca that her ordeal would end “if she helped him by provid[ing] information regarding drug-related activity,” and that he asked her “if she knew what prison felt like.” The lawsuit says Lamanusca and the officers also made “derogatory remarks about [Carbone’s ] compromised position,” and then ordered that a “second internal examination of [her] vagina and rectum” be conducted before instructing two nurses to perform a third.
Carbone’s vagina was also swabbed “for testing,” and after none of the inspections produced evidence of drugs, she was told she was free to go five hours after she had originally been pulled over, the lawsuit states.
The suit names as defendants, New Castle police chief Robert Salem; police officers David Maiella, Terry Dolquist and Sheila Panella; Lawrence County Corrections Officers April Brightshue and Neisha Savage, Corrections Commander Mark Keyser; Lawrence County District Attorney Joshua Lamancusa; Jameson Health System, Dr. Bernard Geiser and Jameson employee Kim Fee; the City of New Castle and Lawrence County.
Senior District Judge Terrence F. McVerry dismissed several of Carbone’s claims in February including, conspiracy to violate her Fourth and Fourteenth Amendment rights, conspiracy to commit assault and battery, conspiracy to harm her reputation, false imprisonment, civil conspiracy, and intentional infliction of emotional distress against Lamancusa.
An neutral evaluation hearing in the case has been scheduled for May 10 in which an impartial third party is supposed to provide an objective opinion on the value of the litigation. After that, a discovery process will begin and last through December 1st.
Claims in the lawsuit that have yet to be decided include, violations of Carbone’s Fourth Amendment rights against unlawful search and seizure, false imprisonment, negligence supervision, battery, First Amendment retaliation, and intentional infliction of emotional distress against police, corrections officers, Geiser and Fee, Lawrence County and New Castle..
New Castle police have not commented on the pending litigation but the case outlines the ridiculous implications of the drug war and comes on the heels of an Aiken, South Carolina case that came to light earlier this month after dash-cam video emerged showing a roadside cavity search of a man that was pulled over for having temporary tags on his newly purchased vehicle.