CONWAY, S.C. (WMBF) – A woman has filed a lawsuit against the city of Myrtle Beach and its police department, claiming an officer took non-consensual photos of her last summer while responding to a call.
The lawsuit, filed Feb. 5, states two Myrtle Beach police officers responded to an apartment complex on Hawthorne Lane to investigate a criminal domestic violence complaint around July 23, 2020.
According to the lawsuit, the plaintiff, identified as Jane Doe, was a witness to some of the events. After a brief discussion, a female officer left the apartment and the woman was alone with Justin Vazquez, the officer named as a defendant.
Vazquez further discussed the events that led to the call with the plaintiff, what she witnessed and if she had a video surveillance camera in her apartment, court documents state.
The lawsuit alleges that Vazquez came around a table where the plaintiff was standing and lifted up her dress while holding a cellphone camera directed under her clothing. The woman said she moved to a different part of her kitchen and the defendant left the apartment.
Several minutes later, both the female officer and the defendant brought the plaintiff a witness statement and asked her to fill it out, the lawsuit states.
Vazquez read the witness statement, but decided that some things had to be added to it and the plaintiff needed to make the corrections and/or additions, according to court records.
“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,” the lawsuit states.
The woman said she told the officer she had to get ready to go out, at which time the defendant left the apartment and she locked the door, court records state.
“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,” the lawsuit states.
In addition to the city, the police department, and Vazquez, Myrtle Beach Police Chief Amy Prock was also named as a defendant in the lawsuit. The plaintiff is asking for an unspecified amount of damages.
Mark Kruea, Myrtle Beach spokesperson, said the city typically does not comment on pending litigation. A request for comment was also sent to officials with the Myrtle Beach Police Department.
The full lawsuit can be read below: