Pierre, SD — The American Civil Liberties Union of South Dakota has just filed a major lawsuit against the South Dakota Department of Social Services, Avera St. Mary’s Hospital, members of the Pierre Police Department, the Sisseton Police Department, and the South Dakota Highway Patrol. The lawsuit is important as it seeks to put a stop to the state’s forced catheterization program that indiscriminately victimizes adults and children alike — all to see if they have an arbitrary substance in their urine.
While it seems that a lawsuit to prevent the state from forcing extremely painful medical procedures on children may be a bit over the top, the fact is, it is entirely necessary. The state of South Dakota, as the Free Thought Project has reported before, has a sordid history of forcing catheterization.
As the ACLU notes, two lawsuits have been filed; one on behalf of a three-year-old child who was forcibly catheterized as a means to collect evidence of child abuse or neglect, and the other on behalf of five adults who were subject to forcible catheterization as part of criminal investigations. All plaintiffs were subjected by law enforcement and state officials to forcible catheterization in violation of the Fourth Amendment’s protection against unreasonable searches and the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.
Dirk Sparks is one of the plaintiffs in the case. In an interview earlier this year, Sparks recalled that horrid night that it happened to him. “It was degrading,” Sparks said. “I was angry. I felt like my civil rights were being violated.”
The nightmare began when police responded to an incident, in which Sparks had done nothing wrong, at his home. However, one officer said he saw Sparks being “fidgety,” so police claimed the right to test his urine.