Cops Sue Port Authority Over Illegal Searches Of Their Cell Phones

Port Authority Cell Phones

The New York and New Jersey Port Authority’s police union has filed a lawsuit against the Port Authority after the agency allegedly illegally demanded the cell phones of its officers during an investigation, The New York Times reported.

The President of the police union, Paul Nunziato, said,

“We lock people up for a living… If we’re conducting a criminal investigation and we have someone’s cell phone, if we don’t have a warrant, we’re not going into that cell phone. Police officers are entitled to the same rights as every American citizen,”

An internal investigation was conducted on Port Authority officers after their conduct during a graduation party in Hoboken, New Jersey. The investigation led to the dismissal of nine new graduated Port Authority police officers and the suspension of three other officers in November, CNET reported.

The Port Authority’s widespread investigation found that the police engaged in various criminal acts during their graduation party on August 23, 2014, The Inquisitr reported.

The Port Authority said in a statement:

“The conduct displayed by these individuals was appalling, deeply troubling and did not meet the high standards that all of our sworn police officers vow to uphold,”

The agency went on to say that the Port Authority “has a long tradition of honor, valor and sacrifice, and we will vigorously defend the appropriateness of the inspector general’s investigation into this matter.”

The lawsuit against the Port Authority, which was filed in Federal District Court in Manhattan on Wednesday, alleges that investigators demanded the cell phones of the probationary officers involved, insinuating that if the officers did not cooperate that they would be fired.

The Port Authority said in a statement:

“The Port Authority strongly disputes the allegations made by the PBA regarding the inspector general’s investigation into the egregious behavior at this party involving newly sworn PAPD officers and some of their supervisors.”

Attorney for the plaintiffs, Richard Emery, said that he thinks that the Port Authority wanted to search the cell phones of the officers to find out if they were working to undermine the investigation.

Emery said about the Port Authority’s investigation,

“It had solely to do with the Port Authority’s paranoia that they were talking to each other about the questions the investigators were asking,”

According to the lawsuit, another police officer, though not included in the suit, was ordered to hand over his phone. The officer, who was not identified by name, was a veteran of the Iraq war. The suit read:

“He was furious that upon returning home to his country, he was being forced to turn over private property to law enforcement despite no suspicion he had committed any wrongdoing,”

The lawsuit claims that the officers’ constitutional rights against unreasonable search and seizure were violated.

[Photo: CNET/Twitter]