How would you react if a policeman subjected you to a full-cavity search for attending an unlicensed block party?
Being a good liberal I would probably sue, but it wouldn't happen in my neighborhood. I don't live in Pennsylvania.
It's happening all over that state, one of the few in the nation that sets no restrictions on anal cavity searches. Now these searches certainly have a place in police procedure and are warranted for suspects whose behavior indicates a likelihood of violence, or of drug smuggling. But I suspect most Americans don't expect to be subjected to this when busted for drunk driving or for trespassing. After all, when a "full-cavity search" is performed by private citizens (except in the case of consenting adults with the shades drawn) the law calls it sexual assault.
In Pennsylvania full-cavity searches are carried out after minor crimes, or for looking out-of-place to the wrong policeman. Absent state guidelines, the decision to use the procedure is left to individual police departments, or to the discretion of the individual officer or jailor.
The story above is part of a series by the Philadelphia Inquirer on Pennsylvania's experience with "get-tough" policing, including heightened enforcement of nuisance laws in and around Philadelphia. These are arrests for "petty" offenses of the sort which Rudolf Giuliani claims helped clean up New York City in the 1990s, but which civil libertarians complain give the police a license to harass. Being journalists, the authors focus on cases that clearly constitute abuse (depressingly a great many of them), but then one doesn't get a digest of "fourteen year old kids braced against a wall and made to spread 'em (but found not to have drugs)" in official police statistics.
The series so far is well worth reading whatever one thinks of the merits of this sort of policing.