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Right To Privacy Protects Man From Police Bathroom Probing

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(credit: CBS) Liz Collin
At 15 years old, Liz Collin made her broadcast debut covering...
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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – A Tuesday night trip to a Rosemount bar last December drew a line between one man’s rights and the law.

Derek Boykin says the Rosemount Police Department went too far when they went after him in a bathroom.

Boykin was out with friends at a bar when he left at around 9 p.m.

“I stopped here at this Kwik Trip gas station to use the bathroom for a minute,” he said.

Boykin said he didn’t know it, but police pulled in behind him.

The police report from that night said the officer wanted to talk to Boykin about his car’s dark windows. The officer found him in the bathroom and said he overheard Boykin on the phone saying, “He’s going to arrest me for DWI.”

On the video you can see the officer first took several looks under the stall then got a stool to look over it.

“That put himself in a position that not only made me uncomfortable, but would make anyone feel uncomfortable,” Boykin said.

Eventually, three officers walked him out. Boykin blew a .096 and police arrested him for drunken driving.

“I drank that evening, yes,” Boykin said.

But, earlier this summer, a judge threw out the charges, saying under the 4th Amendment Boykin had an expectation to privacy. The officer may not have known he’d been drinking if he hadn’t overheard that private phone call.

Derik Fetting, a law professor at Hamline University, says it’s up to the government to justify its evidence gathering is reasonable.

“The 4th Amendment protects all citizens from unreasonable searches and seizures,” Fetting said. “Every search and seizure case is highly fact specific.”

No one from the Rosemount Police Department would talk on camera, but a lieutenant said it’s using the case as a teaching tool.

As for Boykin, he wishes the officer would have asked about his windows.

“I have a medical window tint waiver,” Boykin said.

He said he regrets making the decision he did that night.

“I don’t support drinking and driving whatsoever, but I don’t support police misconduct either,” Boykin said.

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