Vaginal Search by Male Police Officer
Posted by shadmia on March 12, 2008
Here is one of those stories that is hard to believe – but true. Lisa Shutter, 28, of Albany, NY, was driving in the “wrong” part of town. She gets pulled over by the cops. A male cop inserts his finger into her vagina during a body search looking for drugs. The cops find nothing on her and let her go.
When it was over, “I pulled off down the road and I just cried for probably a half hour,” Shutter said. “I called my dad. … I felt like I had been basically raped.”
Lisa reports the incident to internal affairs where she is dissuaded from reporting the incident to a civilian police oversight board. She is lied to and told that the police officer in question has been suspended. Internal affairs refuse to give her a copy of the signed statement she made.
One of the two officers involved, Matthew Fargione, is the son of a former Albany narc who is a long-time buddy of the chief, James Tuffey. Fargione Sr. used to be Tuffey’s boss on the narc squad. The other officer was Nick Abrams. While Shutter said police internal affairs told her one of the officers had been suspended, apparently that is untrue.
This the gist of the story. Below is the account of what happened to Lisa Shutter:
Lisa Shutter’s Story
The incident unfolded just after 7 p.m. on Dec. 22. Shutter said she’d just finished some last-minute holiday shopping and became confused as she drove through West Hill looking for a friend she’d agreed to pick up that night.
Shutter was behind the wheel of a friend’s rented car, and said she saw the police car drive past her twice before the stop.
The officer at her window grilled her about drug use and hidden crack pipes, she said.
“You fit the profile,” the officer said, according to Shutter. “You’re a white girl in a rental car.”
She told the officer she had no drugs and offered to take a Breathalyzer test, but he declined to give one, she said. The officer then allegedly reached through her window and plucked Shutter’s cellphone from her lap.
He scrolled through the personal information in her phone, she said, asking questions about “private calls” and someone named “Mandie,” whose name appeared on her contacts’ list.
Mandie Buxton, 28, who is Shutter’s friend since childhood, was at home when her cellphone rang that night. The man calling identified himself as an Albany police officer and asked whether Shutter was supposed to be picking Buxton up that night.
“I said: ‘What are you talking about?’ ” Buxton said. “He said: ‘You don’t know what I’m talking about?’ and then he hung up. I called right back and no one answered.”
Ordinarily, police need a search warrant to seize or access someone’s telephone.
Before it was over, Shutter was ordered to stand outside her vehicle with her hands on the trunk. One officer searched her body while a second scoured the inside of the car. They also dumped the contents of her purse and asked whether she’d spent her money on crack because her wallet was empty.
Shutter said she never consented to a search of her vehicle, her telephone or her body. She said she pleaded with the officer who allegedly slid his hand down the back of her jeans, and inside her underwear, to stop.
“I kept saying over and over … ‘If you have to search me, can you bring me to the precinct?’ ” Shutter said.
A female officer was called to the scene and informed Shutter she was there to search her body, Shutter said. The female officer patted her down, lifted Shutter’s sweater and felt along her bra strap, and made Shutter open her mouth and lift her tongue. No reason was given.
The police found no drugs or other evidence of criminal wrongdoing before allowing Shutter back in her car.
“He said ‘you’re lucky’ … and that I better not drive around there again,” Shutter said.
Shutter called Buxton and her father minutes later, crying hysterically, they said.
Shutter’s mother, Sherry, characterized her daughter’s encounter with police as a “life-changing nightmare at the hands of an Albany police officer.”
“Our daughter did not deserve to be so grossly violated and I want the officers to comprehend and be held accountable for violating our child,” she said. “I just keep telling her that ‘you did not deserve this.’ “
Internal Affairs Investigation
For the full story of what happened when Lisa reported her experience to police internal affairs as told by the Times Union article……click here.
Apparently the Albany County Sheriff’s Department has pursued questionable search methods which have led not only to public outcry but also serious civil rights violations as in the case of Tunde Clement who stepped off a bus at the city’s main terminal downtown.