Pasadena police release 2016 dashcam video after 2 women file sexual assault lawsuit

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Wednesday, July 18, 2018
2 women file sexual misconduct lawsuit against Pasadena police
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The driver and passenger of a vehicle that was stopped by two Pasadena police officers claim they were sexually assaulted and filed a lawsuit against the department.

PASADENA, Calif. (KABC) -- The driver and passenger of a vehicle that was stopped by two Pasadena police officers claim they were sexually assaulted and filed a lawsuit against the department.

But the department is fighting back and released the dashcam video.

In the video, it shows the two officers making the traffic stop for a vehicle that ran a stop sign and the driver was suspected of being connected to another vehicle that was under surveillance. The driver and passenger claim they were sexually assaulted by the officers.

But the department said the video shows the entire incident and argue it shows otherwise.

"The video will show the actions the officers took, where the women are never off camera. There was never any type of misconduct seen on the video," Lt. Jason Clawson said.

It happened on May 2, 2016 in the afternoon. While one officer dealt with the driver, another asked the passenger to get out of the car and lift up her shirt. Without touching her, he quickly looked her over and then had her sit down.

The driver of the car then exited and an officer restrained her hands, appearing to pat her down before asking her to step away from the car as he searched it.

Both women, 22-year-old Sharaya Brown and her mother 43-year-old Sharell Thompson, were then allowed to leave.

Sharell claims in the lawsuit that the officer made her lift her shirt, exposing her breasts to the public. She also alleges that she was forced to watch as another officer fondled, sexually assaulted and molested her daughter's private parts while searching her.

Authorities argue the lawsuit is baseless.

"Never conducting a full pat down search. Never putting his hand between her legs. That interaction lasted seconds. One of the officers searched the vehicle - no contraband or evidence was found and both parties were told they could leave. Nobody was cited or arrested," Clawson said.

The lawsuit is seeking $25 million in damages. Eyewitness News reached out to the women's attorney who released a statement.

"Today, the City of Pasadena released a video purporting to be an accurate and complete version of the police dash-cam video, from May 2, 2016, the incident alleged in the complaint.

However, our clients contend that the police dash-cam video posted to the City of Pasadena's website is an edited version that does not show the full extent of the officers' search activity, actions, etc. Also, corroborating evidence, such as the police unit's "call history" and any police body-cam footage, has not been produced to date.

Furthermore, this version of the video does not contain many of the indications of an authentic police, dash-cam video, such as, time/date stamp, ambient audio, dialogue from the officers, voices of the subjects of the traffic stop, traffic noise, police sirens, etc. Thus, we look forward to viewing a copy of the original police dash-cam video from this encounter.

For these reasons, we are unsure of the extent to which the video released today was "doctored" to give an appearance of a less intrusive search. However, we look forward to the results of any forensic video analysis which should shed light on these perceived discrepancies."