Nearly two dozen women report being videotaped while police forced them to strip

"They were snickering at these women," says a lawyer for one of the women who was filmed without her knowledge

By Katie McDonough

Published October 20, 2013 3:31PM (EDT)

Nearly two dozen women have reported that they were forced to strip in a Washington police station while being recorded and watched by their male jailers.

“We’ve got dozens of other people calling who had similar experiences in Puyallup [city jail]. We’re sorting through them right now,” Seattle Attorney James Egan told King 5 News.

“I was told I needed to take off all my garments and change into the uniform,” said one woman who requested anonymity.

She refused the order, noting the presence of four male guards and one male inmate.

“Basically I was harassed for not doing it and put back in the holding cell and made to stay there for about 12 hours."

City officials in Puyallup have defended the practice, arguing that filming in jails is a "common industry standard."

But law enforcement experts say filming inmates while changing and using the bathroom is "highly unusual and improper," according to King 5 News.

"They had originally told me to change behind a curtain in a designated area. But when I questioned them, it's like they took it as insubordination instead of me simply asking a question," said another woman. "And they sent me into this holding cell to change instead."

"They asked me, 'Is that everything? I told them, well, I still had my undergarments on. And they said I needed to take off everything. ... And then I was shown the videos, and it was absolutely horrifying and embarrassing," the woman said. "Honestly, it's embarrassing, I feel violated."

Others allege officers sexually harassed them while they changed, according to Egan.

"They were snickering at these women," Egan said. "Called one woman a squatter, asked [a woman with red hair] if she's red downstairs too."

h/t Gawker

Katie McDonough

Katie McDonough is Salon's politics writer, focusing on gender, sexuality and reproductive justice. Follow her on Twitter @kmcdonovgh or email her at

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