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Washington: $260,000 Settlement in Unlawful Strip Search and Taser Case

A woman who was illegally strip searched and then Tasered was awarded a $260,000 settlement against the City of Olympia, Washington.

Cynthia Brown was arrested on August 19, 2008 for trespassing and taken to the Olympia City Jail. During intake, she was ordered to submit to a strip search by three male guards. Brown refused and requested that a female guard be present. She was told that a female guard was unavailable.

After Brown continued to refuse to disrobe, she was Tasered and then stripped naked. An internal affairs investigation determined that the strip search by guards of the opposite sex violated state law and Brown’s civil rights. However, the jail’s policy at the time of the incident did not prohibit cross-gender strip searches.

Brown filed suit against the city and the jail guards, alleging civil rights violations. The city’s lawyer said it was “ready to move on” after agreeing to settle the case in April 2011. Brown’s attorney, Edwin Budge, called the settlement “vindication to some degree.” See: Brown v. Roberson, U.S.D.C. (W.D. Wash.), Case No. 3:10-cv-05705-RJB.


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Related legal case

Brown v. Roberson