A woman who claims a Coeur d’Alene police officer groped her during a drunken driving arrest last summer has video of the interaction from a police cruiser’s dash camera.
But what the 45-minute video means for the lawsuit filed by Coeur d’Alene lawyer Larry Purviance on behalf of Natalie Jean Reighard is unclear.
Police stand by the Aug. 6, 2008, arrest, and while the video shows Reighard claiming Officer Jared Reneau is groping her as he pats her down, the incident is partially obscured by the front of the police car.
“Dude, are you kidding me? Do you think you can do that?” Reighard says in the video.
Reneau was running his hand along her left leg; his hand is blocked by the cruiser.
“I don’t want to get another officer out here. Just stand still,” Reneau says. “I’m not doing anything inappropriate. I need to search you before we go to the jail.”
Filed in U.S. District Court on July 16, the lawsuit, which seeks at least $100,000, claims Reneau and Officers Brian Brumbaugh and Jeff Walthier “had a lewd discussion regarding Reighard’s sexual activity and made some lewd and derogatory remarks regarding alleged interactions between Reighard and the automobile’s passenger.”
The video includes audio of that discussion.
Police Chief Wayne Longo defended Reneau in a statement released Monday. “The Police Department stands behind the actions of Officer Reneau and believe he acted appropriately in the arrest of Ms. Reighard,” Longo said.
Reighard pleaded guilty to an amended charge of inattentive driving in December, according to court records.
The lawsuit is one of nearly 15 current suits Purviance, a former Kootenai County public defender, has against law enforcement agencies in North Idaho, according to federal court records.
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