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9/19/2017 7:27:10 PM
Posted: 12/10/2003 12:18:49 PM EDT

17 students file suit over school drug raid
Group seeks money for damages, injunction against another such raid
Staff Writer

Seventeen Stratford High School students are suing the city of Goose Creek and the Berkeley County school district in federal court, alleging police and school officials terrorized them in a drug raid last month.

Individuals named as defendants in the suit, filed Friday in U.S. District Court in Charleston, include: Stratford High School principal George McCrackin; Berkeley County school superintendent Chester Floyd; Goose Creek police Chief Harvey Becker; and Goose Creek police Lt. Dave Aarons.

The suit also names the city of Goose Creek, its police department and the Berkeley County School District as defendants.

School officials declined to comment on the details of the lawsuit but expressed regret about the incident.

The Nov. 5 raid by police and school officials has created a national firestorm, in part because it was caught on videotape by the school and made available to a local television reporter.

Stratford officials have said they had reason to believe drugs were being sold in the hallway before classes started, but no drugs were found in the raid.

Some Stratford students were arrested on drug-related charges earlier this year.

In the lawsuit, the 17 students asked for an unspecified amount of money for damages and an injunction against another such raid.

They also asked for a declaration that their constitutional rights had been violated.

The suit charges the students’ Fourth and 14th Amendment rights were violated. The Fourth Amendment protects citizens from unreasonable search and seizure; the 14th forbids states from depriving “any person of life, liberty, or property without due process of law.”

The suit also levels charges of assault, battery and false arrest.

McCrackin “planned, ordered, orchestrated and executed the Nov. 5 raid on the Stratford campus,” the suit said.

The school district, the police department and McCrackin bear responsibility for what happened, the suit said, in part because they failed to train and supervise their employees prior to the raid.

The suit also said McCrackin “has made clear” that the raid “will be and is the standard policy for Stratford’s administration.”

When contacted Friday, McCrackin said he had not received any information about the lawsuit. “Even if I had, I can’t comment,” he said.

Floyd said he heard about the lawsuit Friday afternoon and did not have a copy of the suit, but described the matter as “very unfortunate.”

“We’ve had local, state, national and international news coverage on this,” Floyd said. “It’s a month old. I’m trying to get everything back to normal. I’m sorry it all happened. I’m sorry it’s a lawsuit.”

In the suit, the students provide details of what happened to them on Nov. 5 when police burst into the school to conduct the raid. Maurice Harris, a 14-year-old freshman, said one officer pointed a gun at his face. “Maurice can still see the end of the barrel looking him in his face,” the suit said.

The suit comes one day after Ninth Circuit Solicitor Ralph Hoisington of Charleston turned over the case to South Carolina’s attorney general. His announcement angered parents who attended the news conference at Goose Creek City Hall.

Attorneys for the students said Hoisington’s decision played no part in the decision to file suit.

“It was already going to happen,” said Dwayne Green of Charleston, one of the students’ attorneys. “I share the concern that many members of our community have that children shouldn’t have to go through those types of tactics or procedures. I think there is a general concern that no one would want that to happen to their children.”

The Rev. Jesse Jackson, a South Carolina native, traveled to the Lowcountry this week and announced plans for a Dec. 16 rally to protest the drug raid.
Link Posted: 12/10/2003 12:26:10 PM EDT
The stunt that police chief and school officials pulled in Goose Creek is inexcusable. The rights of those children were violated. It's obvious a proper investigation was never undertaken. It's just unfortunate that Jesse(I'm an incoherent, racist idiot)Jackson had to get involved. I wager he wouldn't have given a fart in the wind had that happened in a predominately "white" school. Then again, that probably wouldn't have happened in a predominately "white" school.
Link Posted: 12/10/2003 12:26:32 PM EDT
'bout dammn time!! sue the shit out of the stormtroopers/ JBT's !!!! maybe they'll think twice next time...
Link Posted: 12/10/2003 12:30:42 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 12/10/2003 12:47:31 PM EDT by The_Beer_Slayer]
good. i hope they make a serious dent in that pd's and city councils budgets. mike
Link Posted: 12/10/2003 12:35:30 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 12/10/2003 12:37:10 PM EDT by FLAL1A]
They won't get it, but they should ask for injunctive relief to fire the shitstains who planned and participated in the fiasco, and to revoke their RKBA.
Link Posted: 12/10/2003 12:38:15 PM EDT
Glad to hear it, especially about the principal. If I had been a student at the school, I might have been tempted to walk into the front office and share some words with him.
Link Posted: 12/10/2003 12:44:14 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 12/10/2003 12:48:04 PM EDT by AZ-K9]
Hmmm. Thats familar.... I remember a certain Goose Creek School District mentioned in recent case law..... Same one? Edit: Found it. Horton v Goose Creek Independent School District (690 F. 2d 470 (1982) Fifth Circuit The Fifth Circuit ruled that dog’s sniffing of students’ person was a search under the Fourth Amendment. Canine searches of students’ persons could not be justified without reasonable suspicion.
Link Posted: 12/10/2003 12:48:44 PM EDT
Good for them. That PD was way wrong on this one.
Link Posted: 12/10/2003 12:50:56 PM EDT
I dont see why everone has such a problem with the gestapo operating in the schools. After all it is for the protection of the children.
Link Posted: 12/10/2003 1:01:56 PM EDT
Sue the shit out of them. Every one of them. If I was a parent of one of the schoolkids, I'd be lining up right now too.
Link Posted: 12/10/2003 1:02:13 PM EDT
No comments about the Reverend "Show me the money!"Jackson coming down????????
Link Posted: 12/10/2003 1:21:15 PM EDT
Good. Their personal safety was put in jeopardy by that raid.
Link Posted: 12/10/2003 1:50:27 PM EDT
I am glad to see us all in agreement (so far at least) on this one. This got me pretty damn pissed. The thing that really got me, besides this being an out-and-out violation of Constitutional rights, but cops pointing loaded guns at innocent teenagers in a school hallway. Sue their asses!!!!! As a side note, The Rev. Jackson was supposed to have a big march down here in Alabama a few months ago. The old Rev. couldn't have his little march because nobody showed up for the damn thing!!!!!!!! I love it!!!!!!
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