Leila Tarantino, a Florida mother, was pulled over for rolling through a stop sign last July. But what should have been a routine traffic stop allegedly turned into a nightmare.
Tarantino says that officers pulled her from her car at gunpoint, strip searched her and "forcibly" removed her tampon on the side of the road. Now, she's suiing.
Tarantino says she was wrongfully pulled over by an officer with Florida's Citrus County Sheriff's Department, according to the Broward-Palm Beach New Times. In the suit, Tarantino says that although she came to a complete stop, a passing officer hooked a U-turn and pulled her over.
Here is the disturbing account of the incident -- which Tarantino's children allegedly saw while sitting in the backseat -- as reported by the New Times' Chris Sweeney:
The cop then placed Tarantino in the back of the squad car, where she allegedly sat for two hours. When backup arrived, Tarantino was strip searched on the side of the road, where passing motorists could see everything.
Then, in a gruesome twist, a female officer "forcibly removed" a tampon from Tarantino. Presumably, the cops were looking for drugs, but the lawsuit notes that a drug-sniffing dog was never called in, and cops never found any contraband or anything illegal.
Five male officers and one female officer were involved.
“None of the officers had any individualized suspicion” about the plaintiff, Tarantino's attorneys write, according to an excerpt from the lawsuit obtained by news agency RT.
The “Citrus County Sheriff’s Department had nothing in its policy and procedures manual regarding when and how it is legal and proper for its officer to perform a strip search and its failure to train its officers evinces a deliberate indifference to the constitution rights of Citrus County citizens.”
Tarantino's attorneys say their client was "unreasonably searched and subjected to intrusive, substantial and unwarranted invasions of privacy," according to RT.
No drugs were found in the search.
Tarantino is now seeking monetary damages, the amount of which will be determined in a trial, and payment of her attorney's fees, according to WTSP 10 News.
The Citrus County Sheriff's Department has denied the accusations put forth by Tarantino. In a statement obtained by Tampa's ABC Action News, the department said a traffic stop did occur on July 17, 2011, but that the events that proceeded it were not as Tarantino described.
"No strip search was conducted, and the plaintiff's tampon was never forcibly removed by any deputy," read the statement. "It is the Sheriff's Office intent to aggressively defend itself against these malicious allegations."
Click over to ABC Action News for more.
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