Woman's Lawsuit Accuses Cop of Issuing Ticket, Then Asking Her Out
If an admirer leaves a handwritten note on your car windshield, asking you out, it can be cute or creepy. When that admirer is a police officer who issued you a speeding ticket, and then searched through motor-vehicle records to find your address, it falls more into the creepy camp. At least that's according to a woman who is now suing the allegedly amorous cop for violating her privacy, her civil rights and the Driver's Privacy Protection Act.
Chris Collins, a police officer in the Chicago suburb of Stickney, Ill., pulled Evangelina Paredes over on Oct. 22 and gave her a $132 speeding ticket, according to the woman's lawsuit as reported by The Associated Press. He then allegedly used the ticket to hunt through records and locate her address. Paredes said that she found an envelope from Collins on her car, which was parked near her house. The note read:
It's Chris I'm that ugly bald Stickney cop who gave you that ticket on Saturday. I know this may seem crazy and you're probably right, but truth is I have not stopped thinking about you since. I don't expect a girl as attractive as you to be single, or even go for a guy like me but I'm taking a shot anyways.
Because the truth is I'll probably never see you again un-less I do, and I could never forgive my-self. Listen if I never hear from you I understand, but hey I did cost you $132 least I can do is buy you dinner. Little about me real quick I just turned 27, did 4 years in the Army, and been a cop for just over 3 years. Hope to hear from you one way or another. Thanks!!!
Some could interpret this as a bold, romantic gesture. Paredes interpreted it as a terrifying invasion of her privacy, and an officer's attempt to exploit his authority to get her to agree to go out with him.
"The letter caused plaintiff to suffer great fear and anxiety," the lawsuit states. "Plaintiff could not believe that a police officer would use his access to her personal information to find her home and stalk her. She instantly felt unsafe in her own home and feared for her safety and the safety of her children."
Under the Driver's Privacy Protection Act, officers can only use personal information to carry out the functions of the police department. Getting a hot date is not one of them.
The lawsuit seeks unspecified damages. The Stickney Police Department's attorney, Paul Rettberg, said it would be inappropriate to comment, as he wasn't yet aware of all the details of the case, and that he doesn't know whether any action had been taken against the officer.
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Claire Gordon has contributed to Slate's DoubleX, the Huffington Post, and the book Prisons: Current Controversies. While an undergraduate at Yale University and a research fellow at Yale graduate school, she spoke on panels at Yale and Cornell, and reported from Cairo, Tokyo, and Berlin. Follow Claire on Twitter. Email Claire at firstname.lastname@example.org. Add Claire to your Google+ circles.more...