Mom Files Suit For Being Strip Searched At Gunpoint After Cops Pull Her Over For Rolling Through Stop Sign
Leila Marie Tarantino (DOB 10/24/1976) of Citrus Springs, Florida, claims that on July 17, 2011, she was pulled over by Citrus County Sheriff Department officers on South Columbia Street in Beverly Hills, Florida, for rolling through a stop sign, an offense she denies committing. She claims she fully stopped at the stop sign, then a police car did a U-turn to stop her vehicle. She says her two kids ages 4 and 1 were in the car with her and got a full view of the malevolent antics of the police as they pointed a gun in her face, removed her from her car, and put her in a squad car for two hours. She claims that when backup arrived, the cops then proceeded to strip search her along the side of the road, and forcibly pulled a tampon out of her in a search for contraband. She was then released with a traffic citation for violating restrictions on her driver’s license.
Here’s a copy of the lawsuit filed against the Sheriff Jeffrey Dawsy (who is alleged to have personally approved of the strip search in this incident), the department, the Citrus County government, and six other unnamed officers including five men and one woman. The female police officer is the one alleged to have pulled the tampon out from Tarantino.
According to Florida Statute 901.211, strip searches are unlawful for such a traffic stop:
(1) As used in this section, the term “strip search” means having an arrested person remove or arrange some or all of his or her clothing so as to permit a visual or manual inspection of the genitals; buttocks; anus; breasts, in the case of a female; or undergarments of such person.
(2) No person arrested for a traffic, regulatory, or misdemeanor offense, except in a case which is violent in nature, which involves a weapon, or which involves a controlled substance, shall be strip searched unless:
(a) There is probable cause to believe that the individual is concealing a weapon, a controlled substance, or stolen property; or
(b) A judge at first appearance has found that the person arrested cannot be released either on recognizance or bond and therefore shall be incarcerated in the county jail.
(3) Each strip search shall be performed by a person of the same gender as the arrested person and on premises where the search cannot be observed by persons not physically conducting or observing the search pursuant to this section. Any observer shall be of the same gender as the arrested person.
(4) Any body cavity search must be performed under sanitary conditions.
(5) No law enforcement officer shall order a strip search within the agency or facility without obtaining the written authorization of the supervising officer on duty.
(6) Nothing in this section shall be construed as limiting any statutory or common-law right of any person for purposes of any civil action or injunctive relief.
Is Tarantino Truthful?
But did this incident happen as Tarantino describes? The Citrus County Sheriff Department says Tarantino is lying and making false accusations. They point to Tarantino’s extensive court history including criminal history including a history of alleged domestic violence in 2011 and numerous traffic violations including hit and run driving, repeated DUIs, and repeatedly driving with a suspended license.
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