AVONDALE, Ariz. - A woman has filed a lawsuit against the Avondale Police Department, because she said two officers violated her rights when they forced her to undergo a field sobriety test back in March 2016.
Patricia Ronan represents the plaintiff in this case, whom we will not identify because she was previously a victim of sexual violence.
“They probably had probable cause for the field sobriety test,” said Ronon, adding there was much more wrong than right in the encounter with police, "There was not probable cause to conduct a sobriety test of a naked woman."
Ronan said this a civil rights case and that her client’s right to privacy was taken away.
Her client says she was forced to stand on the side of the road for that test -- no pants and no underwear.
"Police don't need to … expose the person's nude body in order to conduct an appropriate search,” she said. “That's a violation of the Fourth Amendment."
According to the complaint, it happened after police say she made an illegal left turn onto Buckeye Road from Avondale Boulevard.
She was already partially nude while driving with her boyfriend.
"She has a condition on incontinence and decided not to wear soiled pants,” explained Ronan, “but the pants were immediately available to her."
The complaint alleges the officers ignored her when she asked to put her pants on before getting out, and "standing on the side of the road, her shirt did not come down far enough."
Ronan says her client passed the test, but didn’t walk away scot-free.
"This exposed her to fear: What was going to happen [to her] as a half-naked woman being searched by two male police officers?” said Ronan.
Avondale Police Department officials refused to comment on the incident, saying they don't have official notice of the lawsuit and that “It is our policy not to remark on possible or actual pending litigation."
Ronan also says police did not respect the woman's right to refuse to do the field sobriety test.
That would give officers the right to detain her to draw blood or use a breathalyzer anyway, but you still have the right to not participate on the side of the road.
She claimed an internal investigation was done at the department for any wrongdoing. She said the officers involved are back on patrol.
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