(FreshAsFrankie) Last month, thirty-year-old Linus Phillip was killed by a Largo, Florida police officer, after authorities say he tried to drive off before they could search him.
Last week, officers from that same department showed up at Phillip’s funeral home with his phone. They were taken to Phillip’s body, where they tried to use the deceased man’s fingerprint to unlock the device. According to CBS News, Phillip’s fiance, Victoria Armstrong said the situation didn’t sit right with her. “I just felt so disrespected and violated,” Armstrong told the Tampa Bay Times.
Lt. Randall Chaney said the whole thing was a fruitless attempt to get information from Phillip’s phone in order to help with a separate drug investigation authorities say he was involved in.
If you’re wondering whether or not it is even legal for authorities to do such a thing, you’re not alone. Charles Rose is a professor and director of the Center for Excellence in Advocacy at Stetson University. He acknowledged to the Times that while the action may have been inappropriate, what cops did in regards to the phone was not illegal. Rose stated that deceased people cannot assert their Fourth Amendment rights– which prohibits illegal searches and seizures – because you cannot own property when you’re dead. However, those rights could apply to those who inherit the property. It is not clear if Armstrong inherited her fiancee’s cell phone.
DeRon Beasley is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of FreshAsFrankie.com. After starting out as a musician-producer he went on to study the music business and work in Urban Promotions, followed by artist management. Mr. Beasley entrepreneurial spirit has led him to launch numerous businesses in music and fashion marketing. He’s a huge fan of the ’80s and ’90s Hip Hop and R&B, and he’s a firm believer that Hip Hop Music will never die.