- Associated Press - Tuesday, April 19, 2016

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) - A surveillance video showing a group of Meriden police officers holding down and strip-searching a 19-year-old man in a police department cell is expected to be the key piece of evidence in a federal civil rights trial that begins on Wednesday.

The city, its police department and six officers are defendants in the lawsuit, which is scheduled to be heard in U.S. District Court in Bridgeport.

The plaintiff has accused the officers of sexual assault.

He was arrested on March 9, 2011 in front of a liquor store and taken into custody on suspicion of possessing narcotics.

His lawsuit asserts he was then subjected to an unlawful cavity search without a required search warrant or medical supervision.

According to the complaint, the man was handcuffed and police used a Taser several times to immobilize him.

“At one point after the start of the conduct of the officers, (the plaintiff) passed out while they continued their sexual assault,” the complaint reads.

State law requires a warrant for police to search any orifices other than the mouth, according to the lawsuit.

The officers were not charged with a crime.

Attorney James Tallberg, who represents the city and the officers, declined to comment on the lawsuit Tuesday.

But in court documents, he has argued that the search was a legal strip search and approved by a supervisor. He notes that it resulted in the recovery of cocaine, which led to a drug conviction.

Tallberg unsuccessfully tried to have the lawsuit thrown out, and the city later offered a settlement, which was rejected by the plaintiff.

The 36-minute surveillance video has been posted on the social media site YouTube.

It shows officers throwing the man face-down to the cell floor. The officers first pull down and later remove the man’s pants and underwear. They can be seen leaning over him and later forcing him to stand and bend over with officers, wearing what appear to be blue medical gloves, standing behind him.

He is later completely stripped and placed in a white jumpsuit.

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