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Myrtle Seashore Police Officer Hit with Lawsuit for Allegedly Taking Non-Consensual Pictures

When most people make a call to the police for help, there is a certain expectation that the responding officers will protect the people instead of taking advantage of them. Unfortunately, this is exactly what happened to one woman in Myrtle Beach. The city of Myrtle Beach and its police department recently came under fire in a lawsuit over allegations that an officer took non-consensual photos of a woman while responding to a call last summer. 

Police car on street; image by Matt Popovich, via Unsplash.com.
Police car on street; image by Matt Popovich, via Unsplash.com.

The lawsuit was filed back on February 5 and alleges “two Myrtle Beach police officers responded to an apartment complex on Hawthorne Lane to investigate a criminal domestic violence complaint around July 23, 2020.” The plaintiff, Jane Doe, witnessed some of the events. After partaking in a short discussion with the officers, one of the officers left the apartment, leaving the woman alone with the other officer, Justin Vazquez. Vasquez is the defendant in the suit. While they were alone, Vazquez continued to discuss the events that prompted the call with the plaintiff, “what she witnessed and if she had a video surveillance camera in her apartment,” according to court documents. Additionally, the suit claims Vazquez “came around a table where the plaintiff was standing and lifted up her dress while holding a cellphone camera directed under her clothing.” In response, Jane Doe “moved to a different part of her kitchen and the defendant left the apartment.”

Shortly after, Vasquez returned with the other officer and asked Doe to fill out a witness statement. When she was done, Vasquez read the statement, “but decided that some things had to be added to it and the plaintiff needed to make the corrections and/or additions.” The suit further states:

“While in Plaintiff’s apartment, as Plaintiff was standing and making the corrections/additions to her witness statement, Officer Vazquez again moved behind Plaintiff, took his cellphone and again lifted Plaintiff’s dress and took a picture with his phone/”

Jane Doe then told the officers she “had to get ready to go out, at which time the defendant left the apartment and she locked the door.” The suit states:

“Upon information and belief, Defendants knew or should have known of Officer Vazquez’s inappropriate actions and/or propensity to harm females including Plaintiff, yet failed to take any action against Officer Vazquez.”

In addition to naming Vazquez, the city, and the police department, Myrtle Beach Police Chief Amy Prock is also named as a defendant. At the moment, Jane Doe is seeking an unspecified amount of damages. 

Sources:

Lawsuit: Myrtle Beach officer took non-consensual photos of woman while responding to a call

Lawsuit: Woman claims Myrtle Beach officer took non-consensual photos of her during investigation

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