Puyallup, WA is receiving a lot of attention lately and not in a positive way. Last August 12 people, including 11 women and one man filed a suit against the Puyallup Police Department because they were videotaped by officer while performing private acts like using the restroom and undressing after being taken into custody for suspicion of DUI. Since this filing almost two dozen more people, mainly women, have come forward with similar stories.
Some people may think that this is acceptable as police need to make sure that criminals do not have any contraband on them. But when you examine the fact that the majority of the alleged victims were women and all of the guards were male, you begin to see the problem.
James Egan is the Seattle lawyer working on this case. He is arguing that these women were unfairly treated and violated.
He said he found that women were being ordered to use the bathroom and change in cells equipped with video cameras. He found that males were more likely to use a curtained area in the jail's common area that he said is not monitored by cameras.
The police department denies any wrongdoing and says that videotaping offenders while they change into the jail's uniforms is standard practice.
What is disturbing about this case is the fact the all of these suspects were arrested for driving under the influence. DUI is a misdemeanor offense. It is not associated with any violent act or anything that would lead police to feel that the suspect is a danger to them.
A DUI arrest can be made based on a police officer's opinion. If you are stopped and the officer suspects you are intoxicated and you refuse a sobriety test, there is no evidence that you are impaired but you can be arrested and forced to strip on camera anyway. All of this for a misdemeanor offense seems very unfair to the suspect.