A Florida woman claims that police pulled her over for a minor traffic infraction, strip searched her on the side of the road, and “forcibly removed” a tampon that she was wearing.
The woman, Leila Tarantino, filed a lawsuit against the Citrus County government, Sheriff Jeffrey Dawsey and six unknown officers last week seeking damages.
According to the suit, Tarantino was pulled over last July after a policeman waved her through an intersection at which each had stop signs.
The policeman, the lawsuit says, then pulled her over, approached with his gun drawn and put Tarantino in handcuffs while her two small children — ages one and four — watched.
Tarantino says the officer refused to explain why she was being detained.
Over the next two hours, five other policemen arrived, including a female officer, and Tarantino was “frisked and strip searched twice at the side of the busy road, in plain view of passers by.” During one of these searches, the female officer “forcibly removed” the tampon.
The invasive searches were presumably conducted to find drugs, but Tarantino says in the lawsuit that she only received a citation for “violating restrictions on her driver’s license,” and that officers had not bothered to call in a drug-sniffing dog.
“None of the officers ever found any weapons, drugs, contraband or anything illegal,” says the lawsuit, which alleges the searches were “unjustified, unprovoked, disproportionate and unconstitutional.”