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Lawsuits Claim Vermont Cop Violated Rights After Stops

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Three men claim in separate lawsuits that a Vermont state trooper violated their constitutional rights when he improperly searched them after traffic stops.

The Caledonian Record reports that in one suit, Aaron Hightower of Albany, N.Y., and his nephew, Rahmell Hightower of Brooklyn, say Trooper Lewis Hatch strip-searched them on the side of the road after stops in May and in 2013. One of the stops resulted in traffic citations.

In another suit, Gregory Zullo of Rutland says Hatch stopped him because snow obscured his registration sticker then had his car towed, stranding him eight miles from home. The suit says Zullo was never cited.

Jon Alexander, the assistant attorney general representing Hatch, told the paper the trooper strongly disputes the accusations.

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