August 23, 2013 (page 2 of 2)
An additional plaintiff, identified as H.M., expressed she had been victimized as a child and that she experienced “first shock, then anger” after finding out “strangers” had secretly filmed her. “I have not been able to get this off of my mind. I’m horrified that someone other than my husband has seen me in this position. I have been avoiding restrooms in public places for fear someone might be watching me.” She said the incident exacerbated her distrust of men.
Yet another victim, T.K., stated she felt as disrespected, “degraded, and mortified as all of the victims. What they did was against the law and then they have the nerve to make jokes about it is not okay, they need to be held accountable for the emotional and psychological damages that were done.”
Egan’s complaint, dated August 2, 2013, alleges the Puyallup Police Department violated his clients’ Fourth and Fourteenth Amendment rights and “engaged in a pattern and practice of violations of Plaintiffs fundamental rights and dignities including bodily privacy.”
Disturbingly, some of the videos showed full frontal nudity and even the women’s buttocks and still others had footage redacted, although no explanation was provided as to why.
“It is believed that officers may have committed this offense for the purpose of obtaining arousal or personal gratification,” Egan’s suit claims.
KIRO 7 says it checked with detainment centers around the Seattle area and found that no other city or county jail used cameras in their toilet rooms or cells.
The Puyallup City Attorney, Kevin Yamamoto, says Egan is “trolling” the city for sympathy and his clients for financial gain. “He regarded Egan’s Public Disclosure Requests for the more than 60 videos as basically frivolous,” reported KIRO. He stated at a news conference that the cameras are “a force enhancer” or an “extra set of eyes,” allowing the jail to operate with fewer officers.
Puyallup Police Captain Scott Engle defended the practice saying it fell in line with “standard correctional procedures used in jails across the United States.” At the news conference, he reportedly stated that the department committed “no wrongdoing whatsoever.”
In total, 12 people – 11 women and one man – are represented in the lawsuit. According to Yamamoto, Egan had initially asked for a settlement of $800,000 before making the images public, but the city refused. Egan now seeks general and special damages “in an amount to be proven at trial,” and punitive damages “as available under the law.”