Florida police went to a dead man's funeral in an attempt to use his finger to try to unlock his cellphone as part of an investigation.
Last month, Linus Phillip, 30, was fatally shot in the back by a Largo police officer after he tried to drive away from an officer, according to authorities.
At the Sylvan Abbey Funeral Home, two detectives came up to Phillip’s corpse and held up his hand to a cellphone fingerprint censor; however, they were unable to unlock the device, reported CBS News.
Phillip's fiancée, Victoria Armstrong, told reported she felt violated and disrespected by the actions of the detectives. Although the couple has two children together, their young daughter lost her battle with leukemia last year. Their son, Isaac, is 16 months old.
While legal experts say the detectives acted legally, many question whether it was appropriate for them to come to the funeral.
Charles Rose, a professor at Stetson University College of Law, told the Tampa Bay Times that although dead people can't assert their Fourth Amendment protections because they’re dead, those same rights may apply to whoever inherits the property.
After officers attempted to use Phillip's fingerprint to open the phone, the attorney for the victim’s family filed a complaint against the detective. They said they are also considering a lawsuit against the City of Largo for unwarranted search and seizure, and obtaining illegal access to the body after it had left city custody.
According to Phillip's family, the 30-year-old was pulled over at a WaWa gas station because the window tint on his rental car was too dark. During the stop, police said they could smell marijuana. Police said Phillip drove away when they tried to detain him, prompting police to fire four shots through the passenger window.
A GoFundMe page was set up for Phillip. The $50,000 campaign was titled Justice for Linus Phillip.
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