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August 22, 2013 at 2:59 PM
Puyallup police have for years been selectively videotaping and watching young women change their clothes and use the toilet while in custody, according to a lawsuit filed today in Pierce County Superior Court.
The lawsuit names as plaintiffs 11 women and one man who claim they were videotaped in various states of undress by officers in the city jail’s holding cells.
Attorney James Egan said the plaintiffs were “detained for misdemeanors only to become the victims” of what he called “felony voyeurism.” Egan said he began investigating the police department’s booking and surveillance practices more than two years ago. He called the practice of observing detainees a “peepshow.”
But Puyallup City Attorney Kevin Yamamoto claims that cameras in jail holding cells are nothing new, that all Puyallup detainees are required to change into jail clothes for mug shots and that Egan went through the jailhouse videos and “cherry-picked” for alleged victims.
According to Egan, the plaintiffs all had been detained by Puyallup police on suspicion of driving under the influence.
They were taken to the police station where several plaintiffs claim they were patted down thoroughly and in a sexual manner, according to the suit.
They then were directed into a video-monitored holding cell where they were told to strip and change into jail clothes for their mug shots, according to the lawsuit. Egan said there is no reason to require someone to change their clothes to pose for a mug shot.
He said many of the plaintiffs were released within hours of being booked.
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The Today File is a general news blog featuring real-time coverage of Seattle and the Northwest. It is reported by the news staff of The Seattle Times and edited by Assistant Metro Editor Nick Provenza.
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