AP NEWS
Related topics

Woman Who Skipped Subway Fare Plans To Sue Over Strip-Search

January 18, 1995

BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) _ Gretchen Vinson was shocked when she was taken into a men’s room at a police station and strip-searched. All she’d done was get caught on a subway train without paying the $1.10 fare.

``I kept saying, `I can’t believe this is happening. Why do I have to be strip-searched?‴ Ms. Vinson told The Buffalo News. ``I was crying and I was really upset.″

Ms. Vinson, 33, has filed a federal court notice that she intends to sue Buffalo over the search last Sept. 15.

Her attorney, Glenn Murray, said Tuesday that a male officer walked in while Ms. Vinson was naked, and three others looked in while she was getting dressed.

``She was terrified and humiliated,″ Murray said. He plans to seek $900,000 in compensatory damages.

Lt. Robert Penders, who supervises the central booking bureau, said the transit authority officer who arrested Ms. Vinson requested the strip-search because he wanted to check for drugs.

The officer, Jeffrey Burton, said he asked police only to frisk Ms. Vinson.

The search was performed by a female detective. Penders said officers looked into the men’s room because Vinson was shouting. Future searches of female suspects will be done in the women’s room, he said.

AP RADIO
Update hourly