A former police officer is suing several Minnesota law enforcement agencies, officers, cities, commissioners of the state Department of Public Safety, and dozens of others, accusing them of breaking the law by looking up her personal information hundreds of times.
In total, the suit names nine cities, Ramsey County, two state troopers, 7 police officers -- three from Eden Prairie, two public safety commissioners and 140 other defendants -- and she wants them to pay more than $1 million.
Anne Marie Rasmusson doesn't know exactly why she her personal information was accessed hundreds of times, but she claims that it's not only illegal, but a violation of her civil rights.
Much of the information on a drivers license is readily available online, but law enforcement officers aren't supposed to look at that information without good reason. That begs the question, why was one Minnesota woman so popular with police across the state?
The answer may be simple curiosity, but Rasmusson alleges that officers developed an "uncomfortable interest" in her in 2007.
In an interview with City Pages, the former Eden Prairie and St. Paul officer said the inquiries started around the time she got divorced and began training for a body sculpting competition. Even thought the state drivers database only contains a basic photo, it seems word got around in cop circles and she quickly became the subject of many suitors.
In Minneapolis, 24 officers pulled her record 133 times In St. Paul, 42 of her former co-workers checked her out 175 times -- including one female officer who viewed her 34 times.
The 32-page civil lawsuit reads like the plaintiff might suffer from extreme paranoia -- that is, until you realize that more than two dozen departments have been investigated by the Department of Public Safety and three Eden Prairie officers have been disciplined for viewing her private, personal and confidential drivers license information without any legitimate purpose.
During a four year period, Rasmusson's drivers license was accessed more than 400 times by at least a 100 separate people in law enforcement.
In court documents, Rasmusson says she became "physically sick" when she learned of the "sheer volume" of intrusions and began to live a "secluded, hermit-like, reclusive existence," losing "her sense of freedom... Including her freedom to travel and enjoy public places."
Rasmusson is now is demanding a jury trial.
Federal law is supposed to protect the public from these types of abuses, but Rasmusson's attorneys say that unless individual department policies change, this practice will only continue.
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