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Florida Woman Says She Was Strip Searched and Her Tampon ‘Forcibly Removed’

Florida Woman Says She Was Strip Searched and Her Tampon ‘Forcibly Removed’

A Florida woman, Leila Tarantino, is suing over a forced strip search in which one officer forcibly removed her tampon. The incident occurred last July when Tarantino was driving through Beverly Hills, Florida. The original officer alleges she rolled through a stop sign. A new report notes that the officer, who was sitting in the opposite direction of traffic, pulled a u-turn and quickly pulled Tarantino over.

What follows plays like everyone’s worst nightmare, especially with children in the back seat of the car. Tarantino reports that the officer pulled out his gun and did not explain why he pulled her over. The Palm Beach New Times reports that she was placed in the back of a squad car for two hours to wait after the officer pulled her over.

While she sat there, and her children remained in the back of her car, backup arrived on the scene. This backup included three more male officers and one female officer. They proceeded to strip search Tarantino and the female officer allegedly “forcibly removed” a tampon from Tarantino during the search which took place in plain sight of passing traffic, and her children.

The officers have maintained that the strip search was conducted in order to ascertain whether she was carrying any drugs. RT News quotes Tarantino’s lawyers on the issue of unnecessary searches:

Citrus County Sheriff’s Department had nothing in its policy and procedures manual regarding when and how it is legal and proper for its officer to perform a strip search and its failure to train its officers evinces a deliberate indifference to the constitution rights of Citrus County citizens.

ABC Action News cites a long quote by the Citrus County Sheriff’s Department that flat out denies that the search, or the forcible removal of the feminine product, occurred:

The Citrus County Sheriff’s Office wants to go on record as saying the allegations made in this lawsuit are not only ludicrous, but completely untrue.  Yes, a traffic stop was conducted on July 17, 2011.  The plaintiff was issued a criminal citation for violation of restrictions on her driver’s license.  She also was issued a written warning for rolling through a stop sign.

No strip search was conducted, and the plaintiff’s tampon was never forcibly removed by any deputy.

It is the Sheriff’s Office intent to aggressively defend itself against these malicious allegations.

Tarantino has been arrested multiple times in the past for drug possession, driving under the influence and domestic battery.

The logic behind the statement suggests that she deserved to be searched because she had a prior criminal record. So, if someone possessed drugs in the past and was caught, his or her human rights are negated? Although the statement maintains that nothing out of the ordinary happened on the night of the search, the last comment also suggests that Tarantino had fewer rights, right out of the gate, because of her past conduct.

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Photo Credit: Drew Stephens

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324 comments

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1:14PM PDT on Nov 2, 2012

Thank you Syd, but you should probably know that it does happen in this country, and if you're poor, NO ONE will listen to you, not even your court-appointed lawyer!

Look up the story of what happens to female inmates in Alabama. The vast majority have not only been raped and terrorized; they have their rapist's babies stolen from them and given to these officers sometimes. Sometimes they are given up for adoption.

But none of these male officers have been so much as reprimanded for this behavior. When I lived there, a woman was imprisoned after being accused by a nurse from a nearby horrible hospital (Helen Keller's) of reaching a pair of scissors up into her own cervix to cut her own umbilical cord, thus killing her baby. All she had was a miscarriage, but that didn't stop the cops from putting her in solitary. I know because I tried to contact her and went to try and visit her twice and was told it wasn't allowed.

7:34PM PDT on Oct 22, 2012

I don't doubt police do inappropriate and over assertive things to people but to pull out a tampon in front of children and the public is a bit hard to believe...

12:17PM PDT on Sep 17, 2012

Syd H.: Why should we take the police comment as the absolute truth? I have yet to meet a police officer that tells me the truth about anything!

7:10PM PDT on Sep 4, 2012

She said; he said. What happened? A rolling stop is usually given a ticket, not a strip search. If the woman was speaking truthfully about what happened, I guess her name was run while she was sitting in the back seat of the patrol car, and the police found out about her prior drug arrests, and that's why she was treated more harshly than a rolling stop would warrant. If the police are to be believed, no strip search was performed. (who does a strip search outside of the police station???) I'm confused.

8:59AM PDT on Aug 31, 2012

prertpse w: Thank you for the link about the poor nurse in L.A. That is disgusting! I know you shouldn't talk on your phone while driving but when did it become okay to arrest someone and slame them *twice* to the ground leaving bruises like that!

5:13AM PDT on Aug 31, 2012

It's happening in LA too: A female nurse was beaten up by police there: LAPD commander removed in probe of rough arrest -- http://news.yahoo.com/lapd-commander-removed-probe-rough-arrest-054751139.html

9:50PM PDT on Aug 24, 2012

America is becoming a fascist country. Think that's bad? Wait to see what happens if Romney and that POS he chose as his running mate gets in office.

11:42AM PDT on Aug 24, 2012

@ Kimberlee W.
Obviously it was something of a frightening experience you had and certainly the pat down of a female should NOT have been done by the male officer. That would definitely have not happened in Britain as police guide lines demand that if a woman needs to be searched, a female officer has to be sent for if one is not on scene, even if it means having to wait a considerable time for her to arrive.
Despite your experience, I still would not believe that a male police officer even in America, would even consider carrying out a STRIP SEARCH of a female detainee, either in public or in the privacy of a police station. He would be wide open to accusations of sexual assault or rape, even if nothing actually happened.

9:21AM PDT on Aug 24, 2012

For what it's worth, I was stopped trying to get home from N'awlin's at 1 am on the bridge leading to my home when I was abandoned on New Year's Eve.
I was wearing a catsuit with a tight nylon skirt and large shawl. There were two officers that told me to stop and lean over their car, a large man and a slight, med. height woman who looked more the rookie. I still recall the look in her eyes as they met mine across the hood of the cop car as her partner ran his hands over my crotch & buttocks in an ever-tightening circle. uh, - - I was scared sh*tless, let me tell you.
But I could also tell that she was too and wasn't going to say or do a thing.
It Was out in the open where anyone could have seen, so Yes, it does happen.

8:11AM PDT on Aug 24, 2012

As already mentioned, this is very disturbing - IF TRUE.
But in light of the fact that Tarantino had "been arrested multiple times in the past for drug possession, driving under the influence and domestic battery", I would suggest that her story is so far removed from the truth, that any simple minded fool who believes it to be true, MUST also believe in the myth of Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy.
While I do not have an excess of respect for the police and know through personal experience that they are not averse to lying when it suits them, I do not believe that ANY police officers would carry out a strip search and do what this woman claims they did, "in plain sight of passing traffic, and her children" in a public place where their actions could be seen and noted and even filmed by passing pedestrians and motorists. At the very worst, she may possibly have been patted down on the street, by a female officer, to see if she was carrying any illegal drugs, weapons or stolen property on her.
This woman is a LIAR who is attempting to make the police look bad and to FRAUDULENTLY get some cash compensation to help feed her drug habit. I sincerely hope that the judges and courts see through her mythical story and give her some jail time for lying and fraud.


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