A Michigan woman has filed suit against a police officer who she says spied on her through a baby monitor camera.
The lawsuit, filed Thursday by Megan Pearce, accuses Hazel Park Officer Michael Emmi of accessing the camera on three separate occasions.
According to Pearce, the incident began on March 2 after her fiancé’s phone, which has direct access to the baby monitor, was confiscated during a search of the couple’s home. Pearce’s fiancé was arrested by officers for possession of marijuana despite being legally permitted to possess the substance under a state program.
While attempting to clean up her infant son’s nursery the following day, which was reportedly left in “total disarray,” Pearce says she noticed the camera’s light begin to flash.
Investigating her husband’s data usage, Pearce says she discovered the phone to be communicating with a cell tower in Macomb, right next to Emmi’s home. Pearce also says she used a “Find My iPhone” search to trace the phone to Emmi’s residence.
As noted by The Detroit News, Pearce took multiple steps to confirm that the confiscated phone was actively spying on her.
“The complaint says only three devices were connected to the camera, which sends notifications when a connected device accesses it,” the article states. “Those devices were Pearce’s iPhone, her iPad and the fiancé’s iPhone. But her phone was off and the iPad wasn’t monitoring the Nest Cam, the lawsuit alleges.”
The baby monitor camera, which is designed to alert the phone whenever it detects movement, again began to flash two other times despite Pearce’s attempt to sever the link between the two devices. Both times Pearce says she was naked, once while getting out of the bathtub and the other while breastfeeding her son.
The camera, which also has the ability to detect audio, immediately turned off after Pearce began yelling to her brother on the phone that she was being monitored, the lawsuit adds.
Pearce, who works as a dispatcher for the Warren Police Department, told reporters she was shocked Wednesday during a press conference with her attorney.
“This is very difficult to make these accusations against someone that’s also a fellow law enforcement member,” she said. “It’s very difficult. However, this is such a serious violation of my family’s privacy, including myself and my son. It is absolutely necessary to take this action to prevent this from happening to any future individuals.”
Although the lawsuit thus far only mentions Emmi and not his department, one of Pearce’s lawyers says further investigation could reveal widespread corruption.
“(Emmi) is probably not acting alone if he got the cellphone out of the crime lab,” attorney Kevin Ernst said.
The department’s police chief, Martin Barner, described Emmi as an “exemplary” officer before alleging it is “tough to comment when you haven’t been served anything.”
“I want to see what everybody’s talking about,” Barner said.
The Detroit News also confirmed that “there has been no change” in Emmi’s working status.