On Friday, Latoya Allen, an African American woman from the Germantown section of Philadelphia, filed a federal lawsuit against the city and two police officers alleging that her civil rights were violated in February 2010 when police arrested her in the parking lot of a 7 Eleven on Rising Sun Avenue.
According to the suit, after a fight broke out near the car she was sitting in, a police officer “violently and maliciously” pulled her out of the car and threw her to the ground, “smashing her face on the macadam.” After the first cop handcuffed her, Allen says that the other one “sadistically grabbed [her] by her pants, pulled her up, and slammed her onto the back of a police car,” at which point her pants “fell down to her knees, causing her great embarrassment and humiliation.”
She claims that the police wouldn’t let her pull her pants back up and that one of them told her, “You want to dress like a man, you want to be a man, well, this is how we will treat you then.” Allen says in the suit that the cops believed her to be a lesbian. She remained pantsed on the ride to the 2nd District police station, where she was kept in a holding cell. It wasn’t until she was released about an hour later that she was able to pull up her drawers.
Several days after the incident, Allen received a citation for disorderly conduct. Her attorney, Patrick Geckle, who specializes in police misconduct, says that this charge was filed only to cover up the cops’ behavior and that it was later expunged.
In addition to the embarrassment of the pantsing, Allen alleges a host of medical problems as a direct result of the arrest including a nasal bone fracture, shoulder sprain, cervical strain, and closed head trauma. She adds that the rights afforded to her by the First, Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments were violated (that’s speech, search/seizure, and due process, in case your civics knowledge is lacking) and is seeking $250,000 in damages.
No word on whether Allen has started wearing a belt.