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Indiana Woman Settles Claim that Clay County Police Officer Grabbed Her Breasts During Traffic Stop

By Christopher Zoukis

An Indiana woman who claimed that a Clay County, Indiana Reserve Sheriff's Deputy used unjustified, excessive, sexual force against her during a traffic stop settled her claim for an undisclosed amount on February 21, 2007.

Sandra Buczek was driving in Brazil, Indiana on February 28, 2004 when she was pulled over by Reserve Sheriff Deputy Michael Deakins, Sr. As Deakins explained that Buczek had slurred speech and was drunk, he allegedly stared at her breasts. Buczek, who had her two young children in the car, told Deakins that she had Huntington's Disease, which causes slurred speech. When she showed her medical card, Deakins allegedly became enraged.

After administering a field breathalyzer test that came back negative, Deakins allegedly told Buczek that everything would be OK if she would just get in his cruiser and show him her breasts. Buczek refused, and Deakins shoved a clipboard with a citation at her. Buczek fell and began to hyperventilate, at which time Deakins allegedly grabbed her breasts and arms, causing bruises. Buczek was taken to the emergency room after Deakins allegedly threatened to harm her family if she spoke of the event.

Several months later, Buczek filed a federal lawsuit against Deakins, Clay County, Clay County Sheriff Robert E. Carter, Jr. and other unknown officers. She claimed violation of her civil rights and the use of excessive, sexual force, in violation of the Eighth Amendment. She also claimed assault and battery, abuse of process, conspiracy, negligence and gross negligence.

Clay County was dismissed from the suit. Deakins and Carter both claimed qualified immunity. They also denied the allegations, but agreed to settle the case for an undisclosed amount on February 21, 2007.

Case: Buczek v. Clay County, et al., United States District Court for the Southern District of Indiana, Case No. 2:04-cv-00285-WGH-JDT

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Related legal case

Buczek v. Clay County