Police as Privileged Peeping Toms (Will Grigg)
Monday November 4th, 2013
The police department in Puyallup, Washington has a practice and custom of ordering female DUI suspects to undress completely in a room subject to video surveillance. This isn’t a security measure, since the women had already been patted down for weapons. And the procedure is carried out even when the women aren’t being booked on charges.
One of the women forced to disrobe – a married mother of two -- recalls being told that she had “to take everything off. Underwear, too. … I said, `It’s just underwear. What can I do in my underwear?’”
Seattle Attorney James Egan explains that he became aware of this practice a few years ago when he began reviewing evidence in DUI cases. Public record requests for surveillance videos indicated that this degrading and unnecessary procedure was commonplace.
The irony, Egan points out, is that the women subject to this mistreatment are “suspected of misdemeanors and taken to a facility where officers are committing felonies.”
Attorney Julie Kays, who is assisting Egan in a lawsuit filed on behalf of the victims, points out: “If this were any other person and had occurred outside the jail, we would call these people peeping Toms.”
Unfortunately, law enforcement long ago became essentially lawless.