Judge gives approval to settlement for S.C. high school drug raid
By BRUCE SMITH
Associated Press Writer
CHARLESTON, S.C.- A federal judge gave preliminary approval Tuesday to a $1.2 million plan to settle lawsuits filed over a high school drug sweep where police drew their guns.
Surveillance videotapes captured the 2003 raid, in which officers ordered students to lie on the floor and used a dog to search them. Police found no drugs and no arrests were made, but the raid provoked marches and the resignation of the school's principal.
Fifty-nine students and their families sued the Goose Creek police and the Berkeley County School District, claiming their constitutional rights were violated.
There would be two classes under the proposed settlement. The first class would be comprised of students who sued or required medical or psychological treatment. The second class would be other students who were in the hallway at the time of the raid.
Fritz Jekel, a lawyer for the students, estimated that those in the first class would receive $11,370 while those in the second would receive $6,025.
The specific size of the classes will be determined during the coming weeks and, depending on the size, the settlement amounts could change.
Following an investigation, state Attorney General Henry McMaster called it inappropriate for police to draw their guns but concluded their actions did not warrant criminal charges.