Drivers who get pulled over in the District risk coming away with a ticket or even a trip to jail. But there’s another potential problem, according to a new lawsuit against the Metropolitan Police Department: The cops could make off with your nude photos, then share them with their friends.
MPD officers stopped Alexandria resident Natalie Argote in March 2012 on suspicion that she was driving drunk, according to Argote’s new lawsuit. One officer took Argote out of the vehicle to perform sobriety tests. (She later pleaded guilty to a DUI charge.)
While Argote took the sobriety tests, her lawsuit alleges that then-MPD officer Terrence Richardson started going through her phone. When he found a “naked photo” of Argote that she had taken for her boyfriend, Richardson allegedly texted the photo to his own phone.
Days later, Argote checked her phone’s text messages and saw the outgoing photo, according to her lawyer, Latif Doman.
“She had this weird feeling that she had been violated in some way, and she couldn’t put her finger on it,” Doman says.
In her invasion of privacy lawsuit lawsuit, Argote claims that Richardson isn’t the only MPD officer who was on the hunt for nude pictures on suspects’ phones. Argote’s complaint claims that MPD employees “regularly share the salacious photos with each other,” and Doman says he can’t be sure how far Argote’s picture allegedly spread until he goes through discovery in the case.
MPD spokeswoman Gwendolyn Crump declined to comment on the lawsuit. LL couldn’t reach Richardson for comment. According to District government records, though, he no longer works for MPD.
Photo by Darrow Montgomery