Political News

Arizona lawsuit: 2 cops made woman take DUI test half-naked

Posted March 15

— A woman has filed a lawsuit against the Phoenix suburb of Avondale and two of its police officers, claiming they forced her to take a sobriety test at the side of a city street while she was naked from the waist down.

The lawsuit filed earlier this month said the woman had removed her pants before the 2016 traffic stop because she had soiled them earlier due to an incontinence problem.

The officers, she said in the lawsuit, ignored her repeated pleas to let her put her pants back on before she exited her car.

The woman had been a victim of sexual violence earlier in her life and was traumatized by the traffic stop, the lawsuit said. The Associated Press is not identifying the woman because it generally does not name people who have been victims of sexual assaults.

Avondale police spokesman Jaret Redfearn declined comment Wednesday on the lawsuit.

The incident was investigated by Avondale police and the officers were cleared of wrongdoing, said the woman's lawyer Patricia Ronan.

But Ronan said the inquiry was flawed because her client was never formally interviewed by the person who conducted the investigation. The police report about the stop makes no mention of the woman being naked from the waist down, Ronan said.

The woman and her boyfriend were pulled over on March 5, 2016, as they headed home after at the Phoenix International Speedway, the lawsuit said. She was the designated driver.

When Officers Ronal Bergeron and Justin Iwen approached the car, she explained that she wasn't wearing pants because of her incontinence problem and asked if she could put them back on before got out of the car, the lawsuit said.

The woman said that Iwen did not acknowledge her concerns and instead demanded that she get out of the car, the lawsuit said.

She repeated her request, but Iwen declined and told her to get out of the car. Once outside the car, Iwen again refused another request to let her cover up, according to the lawsuit.

Vehicles passed by as she stood on the shoulder of the road and performed the field sobriety test, and the woman tried to pull down her shirt to cover up but that did not work, the lawsuit said.

She was given a written warning for an improper left turn but insisted she did not make an illegal turn, the lawsuit said.

It asks for unspecified monetary damages.

The woman earlier filed a notice of claim precursor to a lawsuit seeking $250,000.

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Follow Jacques Billeaud at twitter.com/jacquesbilleaud. His work can be found at https://www.apnews.com/search/jacques%20billeaud .

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This story corrects in the 3rd paragraph that the lawyer's last name is Ronan, not Ronana.

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