SC Man Held Naked by Police: 'I Won't Get Over It'

Jethro DeVane, 71, says he was embarrassed, feared for his life, and is suing
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Dec 23, 2020 11:48 AM CST
SC Man Held Naked by Police: 'I Won't Get Over It'
In this screen grab from video, attorney Justin Bamberg, standing, speaks at a news conference as plaintiff Jethro DeVane, seated at right, listens on Tuesday in Orangeburg, SC.   (Courtesy of Bamberg Law, LLC via AP)

A 71-year-old Black man in South Carolina was embarrassed and feared for his life when a police officer looking for teens who might have been breaking into cars held him outside naked and at gunpoint after he peeked out his door to check on the disturbance, the man said in a lawsuit. Body camera video of the June 2019 encounter in Rock Hill shows Officer Vincent Mentesana cursing at Jethro DeVane and telling him not to close the door. Mentesana orders DeVane to stand outside his home naked at 4am, facing the wall, according to the video, which DeVane and his lawyer obtained through a public records request and released Tuesday. When DeVane asks what's going on, Mentesana responds, "I don't want to talk to you."

The officer allegedly held the gun to DeVane's head for 90 seconds as other officers looked through his home, reports the AP. Police didn't have a search warrant, according to the lawsuit filed Monday, which claims gross negligence, emotional distress, and false imprisonment. The suit doesn't ask for a specific dollar amount. At a news conference Tuesday, DeVane said he was embarrassed because there was at least one woman among the officers. He also said he feared for his life—that if he tried to close the door, grab some clothes, or argued, the officer with the gun to his head would fire. "I won't get over it the rest of my life," DeVane said.

(Read more South Carolina stories.)

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