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Tuesday, November 12, 2013

'It was like a peep show': Women who were filmed naked by cops after being arrested for DUI speak of their distress

Victims say they thought police were following protocol when they were ordered to strip in cell with camera

 Graphic CCTV obtained by public record requests released as evidence 

All complainants were being held on misdemeanor charges, mostly DUI offenses, and claim they should not have been treated 'like animals' 

The women at the center of a lawsuit claiming their rights to dignity and privacy were violated by a Washington police department have spoken of their ordeal.
Twelve victims claim they were filmed by security cameras as they stripped and, in some cases, used the toilet a at Payallup police station after being arrested for DUI.
A Seattle defense attorney, who highlighted their plight, has likened the filming of the young women to 'a peep show'.
More women complain of videotaping at Puyallup jail
Leading the case: Seattle attorney James Egan first filed a lawsuit on behalf of 11 women and one man in August. He has since been contacted by more than two dozen other people with similar stories
James Egan, who is representing the 12 victims in a lawsuit against the police, told ABC News show 20/20: 'I've represented 1,000 people in DUIs, and I've never seen this.'
After discovering that officers had been recording videos of mostly young women as they changed in police cells he contacted 11 women and a man who were alleged victims in the case in May.
He said: 'This practice appears to be a peep show,' and added that his clients feared the footage could go viral on the internet because the footage is a public record.

His clients are now suing city of Puyallup, police chief Bryan Jeter and Lieutenant Edward Shannon for allegedly violating their fundamental rights to bodily privacy and dignity and engaging in unlawful searches and seizures of the inmates.
Some of the women at the center the case, who asked to remain anonymous, have spoken of their distress at the recordings.
'The fear, the embarrassment, the anger of knowing that somebody has these videos ... and it's happening to all these other women,' Plaintiff 4 told 20/20.
'I felt like a doll they were just dressing up and dressing down ... and I didn't have the fight in me to stand up for myself.'
More women complain of videotaping at Puyallup jail
Indecent: Some of the videos, which were obtained by public record requests, show the women undressing
More women complain of videotaping at Puyallup jail
'Sick': More than three dozen people being held in Puyallup city jail in Washington State on DUI charges have complained about their treatment at the facility after discovering intimate moments, such as going to the bathroom, were being recorded by CCTV cameras
More women complain of videotaping at Puyallup jail
Scene: The jail at the center of the action is inside this Puyallup Police building in Washington state
Although the jail has a curtained off area for inmates to change, the women were ordered to strip in  holding cell that has an overhead camera above.
After changing into jail clothes the women were returned to the cell and forced to strip again so they could put on their own clothes before being released.
At the time, they believed the procedure of stripping in front of a camera was part of police protocol.
Since the original case was filed in August nearly 40 other women have come forward with similar stories.
'They're there to serve and protect and protect us, and they completely took advantage of each and every one of us,' Plaintiff 4 said.
Plaintiff One added: 'I don't even think I really thought that that was something that was probably an ongoing recording, and, again, you're just - you know, kind of assume that that's just what is normal.'
Another of the alleged victims said the cell was so cold she had to ask for a blanket, at which point an officer claimed he would be watching her.
'[The officer] told me ... if I do jumping jacks he'll be watching: "Don't do jumping jacks naked 'cause I'll be watching".' Plaintiff 2 claimed.
More women complain of videotaping at Puyallup jail
Vulnerable: One woman claims that, after changing into a jail uniform, she was ordered back into her cell and told to take off her underwear, which was being filmed on camera


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