Can a male officer search me palm down?

As a criminal justice major, I know that male police officer are not supposed to search females unless if they feel they are in danger however, under no circumstance, should this officer have

felt threatened by me. I was pulled over because I had picked up a guy that was hitchhiking, who just so happened to be running from police for a probation violation. The officer pulled me over, the guy went to jump out and the officer hit my car door with his bumper and then the side of my car with his own door. The officer and him struggled and the officer eventually

cuffed the boy, before choking him and slamming his face against my trunk. The officer asked me to get out of the vehicle and became very defensive when I was getting out to slowly, which is what I thought was the correct way to go about it. He told me to step behind the vehicle and put my hands behind my back I asked why I was being detained and he said,

Asked on July 7, 2016 under Criminal Law, North Carolina


B.H.F., Member, Texas State Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

There is a difference between a "pat down" and a "search."  An officer can do a pat down like the one you describe, especially when you are present in a situation when an officers safety is threatened or they are dealing with difficult situations.  This is applicable whether the suspect is male or female.
However, it does sound like the officer was more brutal than he needed to be when he slammed you down--especially when you were not resisting.  This means that you could potentially file a claim for police brutality or unlawful force. 

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