NJ Marijuana: Anal Search For Weed Case Against Cops Could Be Tossed

Photo Credit: Gannett File Photo

A Toms River man who pleaded “he’s raping me” to passing motorists as a state trooper searched for drugs in his trousers may have his lawsuit against state police thrown out of court before it even begins, records show.

The reason: He may have waited too long to file his paperwork.

A judge has already denied two motions from 21-year-old Jack Levine’s attorney that would pave the way to a formal civil lawsuit. His attorney, Arthur H. Lang, has filed another motion in an attempt to get more material on which to build a case.

Tort claims — preliminary paperwork for certain civil cases — must generally be filed within 90 days of the event in question, though a judge may permit certain exceptions up to a year. Lang had argued that, since Levine did not know that other troopers — specifically, a supervisor who allegedly signed off on the search — were involved, Levine should have the opportunity to file a late claim.

Body camera footage of Levine’s encounter with troopers first came to light when published by open-government advocate John Paff. The footage, which you can watch at the top of this article, shows Trooper Joseph Drew, wearing gloves, searching through Levine’s pants and other garments, ostensibly looking for marijuana during a March 8, 2017, traffic stop in Southampton. Levine repeatedly expresses disbelief at the daylight, roadside search.

Levine demanded the search take place in front of the troop car’s dashboard camera, he claimed in an affidavit.

“Trooper Drew opened my pants from the back and put his hand down my pants and went from my tailbone, down the crack of my buttocks to the front near my genitalia,” Levine claimed. Then Drew went into Levine’s pants from the front, Levine claimed. Then, Levine said, Drew went in both sides a second time.

Mr. Levine repeatedly screamed out for help saying, ‘He’s raping me,'” Lang wrote in a motion to file a late claim.

The troopers — Drew and Trooper Andrew Whitmore — let Levine and Phillips go after giving Levine a ticket for tailgating, Levine and Lang claimed. When Levine went to Southampton municipal court in September 2017 for the ticket, Drew requested the charges be dismissed, Lang claimed.

Court records show the tailgating charge was dismissed at the municipal prosecutor’s discretion.

Lang’s motion was scheduled for a decision April 13 but was postponed until April 27.

Lang was not available for comment April 13 and his voicemail box was full.

State police Sgt. Jeff Flynn said there was still an internal investigation pending, and “We can’t comment on internal investigations.”