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Wash. Agency Sued Over Jail Video Surveillance

August 26, 2013  | 

Screenshot via KING 5.
Screenshot via KING 5.
A dozen people arrested for drunk driving have sued the Puyallup (Wash.) Police Department for video recordings showing them naked while using the bathroom or changing.

Seattle attorney James Egan, who's representing the 11 women and one man, told KING 5 the victims appear to mostly be attractive women. Egan's co-counsel said the officers viewing the footage could be considered "peeping Toms."

Several of the women were recorded on the jail's video surveillance system changing into a standard-issue jail uniform. The city's attorney said video surveillance in jails is common practice and the lawsuit is baseless.

Comments (17)

Displaying 1 - 17 of 17

top rad @ 8/26/2013 7:28 PM

If you're in jail, you have no right to privacy.

equaljustice @ 8/27/2013 3:18 PM

I bet the cameras are out in the open and not hidden. No expectation of privacy in jail or any other government facility.

David Armstrong @ 8/27/2013 3:22 PM

You don't give up all rights just because you are in jail, and the needs of the facility have to be balanced against the rights of the suspects. Hard to explain what possible need is being met by videoing people going to the bathroom, especially if the video appear to be selective in nature rather than used for all inmates.

JM @ 8/27/2013 3:43 PM

If you've ever seen an inmate hanging dead in a holding cell, beating a cellmate, etc., you would understand the need for cameras...

David ?? @ 8/27/2013 4:34 PM

I agree JM. Everywhere I have ever worked, we recorded 24/7.

David ?? @ 8/27/2013 4:39 PM

FYI , we did not record the changing room, from civvies to jail uniform. Everyone was searched to prevent bringing in contraband .
Guns, Drugs and Cellular Phones.

Ima Leprechaun @ 8/27/2013 6:08 PM

Most jail camera's even in the open are angled as to not spy on people with their private parts exposed to the camera. This really is a violation of privacy and the agency involved knew it. Whether in jail or not, there is an expected right of privacy while on the toilet, in the shower or in a changing area. Generally, that's why those areas are so heavily guarded and anyone entering those areas should be throughly searched prior to entry to avoid mishaps. Even the small jails in remote parts of the USA know this type of video intrusion is improper. Also it makes you wonder just how these videos were made public in the first place, that alone shows the intent to deprive privacy.

Leonard Mather @ 8/27/2013 7:32 PM

Ima Leprechaun and David Armstrong should get together, find a nice place to live in CA and contact Rev. Al and Jesse to have a talk about the complaint. Meanwhile, I hope the PD hires someone like Gerry Spence (he never lost a case since 1969 until retiring in 2010). It is a frivolous lawsuit.

Leonard Mather @ 8/27/2013 7:36 PM

Ima Leprechaun and David Armstrong should team up, go to California together and contact Rev. Al and Jesse to discuss this matter. In the mean time, I hope the Police Department hires someone like Gerry Spence--he never lost a case since 1969 until he retired in 2010. It is a frivolous lawsuit.

Leonard Mather @ 8/27/2013 7:38 PM

It sounds like a frivolous lawsuit to me. If the likes of Gerry Spence could be hired, the latter would be the finding. Gerry never lost a case since 1969 until he retired in 2010.

Leonard Mather @ 8/27/2013 7:43 PM

My sincere apologies for the repetition. I erroneously thought I was being deleted due to a glitch in my keyboard. It has been corrected. Haste makes waste. Lesson learned.

madog 81 mm @ 8/28/2013 4:22 AM

Intoxicated people , caught with their pants down, ( pun intended ) now wanting to sue the jails ! I wonder how many stripped in the public eye, or revealed their privates while in the act of relieving themselves in front of a bar or on the street itself? A jail can be a dangerous place for any one , including intoxicated drivers ! Monitoring has to be be done , preferably by same sex officers , as much as possible ! Imagine the law suits for not paying attention to those suicidal , or helpless , and intoxicated individuals ! If some one has a better idea, guarding these people, then suggest it ! Taking a drunk off the street , is a public service , as prevention for , death or injury to all those involved ! There is no expectation of privacy when you are intoxicated enough to be arrested for it ! Drink moderately , "don't drive after consumming" , and we'll all be safer , for it ! It's incombent on LEOs , that they must be responsible for the welfare of arrestees! All be safe !

Steve @ 8/28/2013 6:55 AM

Ever thought about the issue of contraband brought into the jail? Happens all the time. Females are more likely to have the contraband than males as their wardrobe and "hiding places" aren't always searched thoroughly by male officers or jail personnel. That's one (good reason) for the video surveillence.
If it were proven that only "attractive" females were being we've got a different issue!

Jager357 @ 8/28/2013 7:48 AM

Puyallup Police Department will most likley lose if they go to court. A female officer sued her own department and won because male officers looked at her dl photo. It's not the recording of people in jail being challanged, it's the number of officers watching the videos that have no business watching them.

Chuck in KC @ 8/28/2013 8:13 AM

Ima Leprechaun is a chronic whiner and complainer and police-hater. His rants are always anti-law enforcement and should just be ignored.

Chuck in KC @ 8/28/2013 8:16 AM

The cameras are not hidden and inmates are totally aware they are being video-taped. The video is for use in court if something happens and is evidence. Most systems only keep the video until storage space runs out and is then deleted. This is no big thing, unless the officers made a separate tape of the video and were viewing it outside of the facility. There is not enough information on this little snippet of news to know the whole story.

Rev. Lowrey @ 8/28/2013 2:17 PM

It seems some commenters believe that "attractive" women have more rights than "unattractive" women or men.
Aside from beauty/attractiveness being in the eye of the beholder, these attitudes are wrong at a foundational level.
Regardless of the value of surveillance for safety or any other legitimate reason, making a special class for women some officer or other deems attractive shows both bias and a basic lack of understanding of civil or human "rights".
I doubt much jail crime takes place during evacuation.
It will be interesting to see how the case actually turns out.
Apparently, jail is not the only government toilet where you get filmed.

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