CLINTON — An Oak Ridge man who says he was forced in June 2011 to submit to a digital rectal exam for suspected drugs — and no drugs were found — has filed a lawsuit in Anderson County Circuit Court.
Wesley Antwan Gulley’s legal action contends his constitutional rights were violated and he was subjected to false arrest and imprisonment, assault and battery and medical battery.
The lawsuit alleges Gulley was in shackles and reluctantly consented to the exam, but only after Dr. Michael A. LaPaglia ordered an injectable sedative and threatened to use it “in performing the digital rectal exam …”
The defendants used coercion and “undue influence” to force Gulley’s consent, and police officers didn’t have a warrant, it continues.
Gulley was stopped in Oak Ridge for an alleged traffic violation on June 3, 2011, and told he was being arrested for drugs, according to the lawsuit. He was 19 at the time, records show.
A drug-sniffing dog alerted on a $20 bill found on the driver’s seat of the vehicle, and Gulley underwent an extensive pat-down search.
He was then taken to Methodist Medical Center of Oak Ridge for the exam, the lawsuit states.
Three Oak Ridge police officers and two nurses were in the hospital room at Methodist Medical Center of Oak Ridge at the time of the exam, according to the complaint.
Nothing was found and Gulley was never charged with any drug-related crime, the lawsuit states. A resisting arrest charge filed against Gulley was later dismissed by the state, the lawsuit states.
The exam, the legal action contends, left Gulley under severe stress and mental anguish, and he suffered “ridicule from third parties” as a result.
Gulley also was forced to make a bond and hire an attorney to represent him, it continues.
Knoxville lawyer Bob Jolley, who represented another Oak Ridge man subjected to a warrantless body cavity search, filed the lawsuit on Gulley’s behalf.
In the other case, Felix Booker, 21, was convicted in federal court of possessing 5.7 grams of crack cocaine, found after LaPaglia injected Booker with paralyzing drugs and recovered the drugs from the man’s rectum.
Booker’s conviction has been appealed to the 6th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals.
The lawsuit on behalf of Gulley was filed June 1 and names as defendants LaPaglia, Methodist Medical Center of Oak Ridge, two nurses, three Oak Ridge Police Department officers, the city of Oak Ridge and Police Chief James T. Akagi.
The complaint seeks unspecified compensatory and punitive damages and an injunction prohibiting the police chief from enforcing policies allowing such cavity searches under similar conditions.