Driver gets $35K after being searched for 'pot smell,' nothing found

LOVELAND, Colo. - A man who says he was put in handcuffs for an hour because he allegedly smelled of marijuana is getting $35,000 from the city of Loveland, according to the ACLU.

David Kramer said he was stopped for a minor traffic issue on July 4, 2011.

"Kramer was held in handcuffs for more than an hour and was subjected, in violation of his Fourth Amendment rights, to a search of his body, his wallet, and his vehicle by Loveland police, who gave no justification other than a claim they smelled marijuana," according to a letter that ACLU attorneys sent to the city of Loveland.

Loveland police found no marijuana, and a drug dog brought to the scene failed to alert, the ACLU said.

"The Fourth amendment exists to protect citizens from this kind of unjustified government invasion of person and property," said said ACLU of Colorado Legal Director Mark Silverstein. "We are glad that the City of Loveland decided to avoid litigation and settle this matter out of court."

Loveland Police said while they didn't admit liability, "Immediately upon receipt of the initial complaint from Mr. Kramer, Loveland Police initiated an internal review that identified specific performance deficiencies and policy violations that were addressed and corrected promptly and prior to the intervention of the ACLU in September 2011."

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