Four years ago, Minneapolis police used an informant to buy crack from Guntallwon Brown. After seeing him make another sale, they swooped in for the bust.
An officer noticed Brown “shoving his hands down his pants,” then “grinding” into a chair, as if attempting to hide something. So police took him to North Memorial Hospital in Robbinsdale, suspecting this was a Ye Olde Hide the Crack Up Your Butt caper.
(Editor's note: This is why you should stay in school and not do drugs, children.)
Though police had a search warrant, Dr. Christopher Palmer refused to do a cavity search. A hospital lawyer believed the warrant insufficient to cover the exploration.
Police then got a second warrant, which expressly allowed doctors to “use any medical/physical means necessary” to retrieve said crack. Brown was given the options of removing it himself, getting an enema, undergoing a search mission while sedated, or being given a laxative while under sedation.
Yet he appeared unexcited about any of the options, and refused to speak.
So Brown was strapped and sedated, at which point a doctor elsewhere retrieved the offending item. It turns out Brown's buttocks was harboring a plastic bag of 2.9 grams of rock.
A great deal of work went into this rather minor bust. He was charged with fifth-degree drug possession. Brown tried to get the crack thrown out as evidence, calling the means of retrieval a violation of the Fourth Amendment, which protects against unreasonable searches and seizures.
Alas, the Founding Fathers never considered that the Fourth might pertain to rectum exploration at a hospital in Robbinsdale, just like they never considered a “well-regulated militia” would someday mean a white supremacist shooting up a Walmart in Texas.
The evidence was admitted, and Brown was sentenced to 90 days of house arrest.
But four years after his arrest, it turns out that he's among Minnesota's great defenders of constitutional rights. The Supreme Court ruled this week that police did indeed violate the Fourth Amendment by entering his butt without his consent.
Wrote the court: “If a coerced invasion of one’s cavity — an area inherently personal and private — while sedated and in front of strangers is not a serious and substantial intrusion of an individual’s dignitary interest in personal privacy and bodily integrity, we cannot fathom what is.” After all, officers could have waited for the crack to be expelled by more natural means.
It's doubtful Brown will be feted for his pioneering stand. Constitutional enthusiasts tend not to be happy when their holy document protects minor league crack dealers.
But if you're worried about the police, Robert Mueller, or the men in black helicopters getting their paws on something you'd prefer they not see, you can now thank Guntallwon Brown for the sanctity of your rectum.