A DISCUSSION OF LAW AND JOURNALISM

Tag: Jessica Krigsman

Topless Bust Spills Over Into Suit

By Antonio Mendez

Earlier this month, a fire-eating burlesque dancer filed a lawsuit in Brooklyn Supreme Court against two police officers who arrested her for sunbathing topless at Calvert Vaux Park in Brooklyn.

She is seeking unspecified damages plus attorney fees for assault and battery, malicious prosecution, and violation of her civil-rights.

On July 12, 2012, Jessica Krigsman was hanging out —literally—on a park bench when she was approached by cops and told to put on her shirt. “Haven’t you heard of People v. Santorelli?” she asked the officers. “This has been legal since the ‘90’s,” she added, trying to get the cops abreast of the law. “Call your supervisor!”

Rather than calling, the officers escorted Ms. Krigsman to their supervisor. She was arrested, taken to the 68th precinct stationhouse, and held for five hours. Ms. Krigsman was released only after receiving a summons by NYPD for “obstruction of a sitting area”—a Parks Department code prohibiting the hoarding of benches. The summons was dismissed three months later.

Earlier this year, NYPD reminded its officers in a memo that they “shall not enforce any section of law, including…against female individuals who are simply exposing their breasts in public.” In discussing the memo’s origin, Inspector Kim Royster commented that such memos were “periodically circulated to remind personnel of our policies.” The Inspector added that the memo “comports with the N.Y. Court of Appeals ruling on taking enforcement action against individuals for public nudity.”

That 1992 N.Y. Court of Appeals case is the very one that was cited by Ms. Krigsman. Many media outlets discussed Ms. Krigsman’s lawsuit, but none have peeked into the law books for a legal analysis.

Does Ms. Krigsman have a good case? Will the City lose its shirt in damages on her lawsuit?

LASIS goes after the naked truth.

(more…)

Comments

2 Comments »