Los Angeles

Assault Lawsuit Video of Police Stop That Led to Lawsuit Released

The suit alleges that one of the officers forced the mother to lift her shirt and "expose her breasts" in public view.

In-car video from a traffic stop that led to a woman and her adult daughter suing the city of Pasadena and two police officers for allegedly sexually assaulting them was released Tuesday.

Acting Pasadena Public Information Officer Lisa Derderian called the lawsuit "baseless" and "unsubstantiated."

"The claims on which the lawsuit rests are easily proven false," Derderian said. "Pasadena Police Department patrol officers initiated a traffic stop based upon a detective investigation and traffic violation witnessed by police. As per department policies and procedures, the officers remained professional the entire time, assessed the situation, speaking with the individuals and conducting appropriate and necessary searches of the individuals -- a waist-band check for weapons -- and of the vehicle. After the vehicle and individuals were searched and questioned, they were free to leave the scene.

"When the police department received a personnel complaint, a thorough review of the incident was undertaken per department policy. The in-car camera footage from the patrol car clearly shows that the officers acted appropriately."

According to the complaint, which seeks at least $25 million in damages, the officers allegedly violated the civil rights of the women, who were 41 and 20 years old at the time of the alleged May 2, 2016, assault.

The lawsuit contends the women were stopped by police around 3:25 p.m. that day near the intersection of Altadena Drive and Foothill Boulevard. The women contend the officers physically searched them without probable cause or justification, with one of the male officers "using his bare hands to rub between (the) legs," in the areas of the "crotch" and "buttocks" and inside the pants of the daughter, according to the lawsuit.

The suit alleges that one of the officers forced the mother to lift her shirt and "expose her breasts" in public view. Even though the mother immediately drove to the Pasadena Police Department after the stop to lodge a complaint, the police department failed to seriously investigate the claims and refused to take any disciplinary action against the officers, the lawsuit alleges.

"We're living in the age of the 'Me Too' movement and people have to be held accountable for their actions, including police officers," said Dakar Diourbel, an attorney representing the plaintiffs. "It's time for the sexual assaults and violence committed against women to stop, once and for all."

Copyright CNS - City News Service
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