ABA Journal


Privacy Law

‘Testosterone-laden’ cops ogled city attorney’s driver’s license, claim says; city settles

Dec 19, 2013, 01:41 pm CST


It is a shame that this story was not accompanied by a photo.

By Yankee on 2013 12 19, 4:39 pm CST

The young woman is attractive but it is difficult to imagine any DMV photo that is ogle worthy.

By W.R.T. on 2013 12 19, 8:13 pm CST

The trouble is that police are given access to information to use professionally. Unfortunately, they are using work computers and a security clearance to review private information that should not be accessed. There are no checks on the system, a simple review of access logs would identify people that need to have their security access reduced and be placed on the worst shift available. Why is this type of data breach treated so lightly when it is clearly an abuse of power?

By mike on 2013 12 19, 10:17 pm CST

What's really strange is the contortionist video that pops up when you do an image search of her.

By Tiger_words on 2013 12 20, 9:36 am CST

Her photo was already in the public domain:

By StephenG on 2013 12 20, 10:17 am CST

It used to be easy to find out where most people lived by looking in the phone directory.

By Tom Field on 2013 12 20, 11:59 am CST

@Yankee I hope you get disbarred soon. If you act on practice like you do on here, it shouldn't be too long.

By Wouldn't_you_like_to_know on 2013 12 20, 12:58 pm CST

Considering the central artifact in her claim is her photo, you would think in the interests of journalism the article's author could have included at least one or two photos of the woman so readers could make their own decisions as the ogle-worthiness of it/them.

By Joe on 2013 12 20, 1:13 pm CST

In my county it was discovered that the female dispatchers of the metropolitan computer aided dispatch used the facilities and resources to get information on their boyfriends. After an appropriate investigation, it was determined that there was nothing wrong with what occurred. So what is the big deal in Minneapolis?

By the plain truth on 2013 12 20, 1:35 pm CST

Oh, yes, and this entire process has aided in her for quest for a low profile.

By greyghost on 2013 12 20, 1:48 pm CST

I checked out her picture. I don't see what the big deal is, she's not that attractive.

By exradardan on 2013 12 20, 1:48 pm CST

No thanks Jeff.

By ProBonor on 2013 12 20, 2:04 pm CST

I am assuming the comments regarding the need for a photo and the fact that "she's not that attractive" are tongue in cheek. The alternative is just too depressing to contemplate.

By Rebel1960 on 2013 12 20, 2:21 pm CST

I am having trouble believing that the majority of these posters are attorneys. The gist of the article and the claim made against the City wasn't that the cops were oogling her photo because of her good looks. The claim was basically that cops were making comments to her along the line of, "we know where you live and we know what you look like. By the way, you don't look the same in person as you do on your driver's license photo." That scared her, and it probably would scare a lot of people. A lot of cops are nice, normal and professional. However, too many are testosterone-laden jerks who should not be trusted with weapons or access to citizens' private information.

By Bill on 2013 12 20, 2:46 pm CST

Bill@14: The headline and the story say that the officers "ogled" her photo, which implies more than just being able to identify her and find out where she lived. Perhaps she was justifiably frightened, but "ogling" necessarily implies sexual or amorous intentions.

By Action This Day on 2013 12 20, 3:02 pm CST

Perhaps you'd l ike a little context here. An ex-cop sued a number of Minnesota cities, including Minneapolis which just paid out to Minneapolis assistant city Kruchowski, resulting from over 100 police officers accessing her driver license information, inc. her photo. The ex-cop received $1 million in settlements from various Minnesotta municipalities, inc. Minneapolis and St. Paul. The police officers accessing both women's driver license information violated the federal Drivers Privacy Protection Act, This is essentially an anti-stalking law and reflects an understanding not exhibited by all those posting above that it is a creepy, disturbing invasion of peacefulness and privacy to find that multiple males (or even one) are seeking information about where someone lives and what they look like when they have no authority to do so, ESPECIALLY when they are cops.

By Vermont Lawyer on 2013 12 20, 3:11 pm CST

ogling her license is creepy yes,...but at least they didn't sniff her drivers license.

By beentheredonethat on 2013 12 20, 3:30 pm CST

Another thing to consider is that Minneapolis assistant city Kruchowski is the liaison to the police domestic assault unit for the Minneapolis city attorney's office. Unfortunately domestic violence against wives it not infrequent among law enforcement and people in law enforcement often protect one another from consequences of their criminal activity (i.e. refuse to rat out a fellow cop). So to hear that officers on the Minneapolis police force are checking out where she lives and what she looks like would be concerning and, in some instances, could be considered a warning. Perhaps that is not the case or intention, but, in any case the officers violated a Federal law to protect individual's privacy.

By Vermont Lawyer on 2013 12 20, 3:32 pm CST

The troubling aspect of this, is simply that the police were misusing the system. The DMV database is not to be used to satisfy their personal curiosity. Using it as they were is a serious matter, and can actually result in the offender being fired, and facing possible criminal charges (depending on the circumstances).
That being said- I must wonder about a "liaison to the police domestic assault unit for the city attorney's office" who, apparently, is uncomfortable with police officers, and in fact, seems to fear them(based upon her complaint letter). Perhaps she should consider shifting to a different position.
BTW- EVERY LEO in three LEAs knows where I live, and they all have my personal cell #. Never worried me.

By Vastly Amused on 2013 12 20, 3:37 pm CST

OK folks let's start over. Our discussion once again has gone sideways due to a headline and story focus that isn't really what happened.

When we see that someone got taxpayer money just because she didn't like cops looking at her driver's license picture, of course we will react that it's a ridiculous complaint. My first thought was about my children in the back seat "She's looking at me!" "no I'm not!" "Yes you are!" That makes the suit--and payment--absurd, like the public's reaction to the "hot coffee" suit.

But that's not the real story. The real story is unauthorized access by government employees--worse, police--of private and identifying information. The suit wasn't about "looking" but about access.

So when we react to the headline and the suggested story, we rightfully make fun of the (seemingly) malingering plaintiff. Worse, her complaint has extremely offensive sexist slurs about one gender (turn it around, girls, and you have to agree). So the comments are just following the lead.

and worse, loads her complaint with offensive sexist remarks about every person of a certain gender

By Hadley V. Baxendale on 2013 12 20, 4:44 pm CST

"domestic assault unit for the city attorney's office" . . .could it be that may be, just may be, she may or was starting to bring chargers to some of the men in blue. . .after all just because they wear a blue suit, carry a gun, a night stick and a badge, does not mean they are saint-like. . .don't they point a gun. shoot at a human to maim or kill . . .all under the cloud of "criminal justice". . .I know must ask: where is the justice in crime?

And speaking to the 'abuse of authority' try living in a county with less than 30,000 and going up against the traffic division on due process of law, right to receive evidence for a fair good faith hearing, finding out that even before the appeal process has tolled DMV is threating suspension put marks against your license, sublime statements with nails put in the car tires coincidently on the same day as a denial for review, then to finish off the trick down theory, the yearly insurance triples in cost. . .

By Jo on 2013 12 20, 4:49 pm CST

Poor girl. Poor cops. Poor me. Poor everyone.

By You call this coffee!? on 2013 12 20, 6:28 pm CST

Cops behaving badly; what a surprise (not).

By NYTC on 2013 12 20, 7:31 pm CST

Cops could have been using her DMV record as a training tool -- perhaps showing new hires or other fellow authorized-users who were unfamiliar with how to look someone up. She is a city attorney so she's someone known to them, a colleague in effect, and she has a distinctive name. I don't think it stretches the imagination to contemplate that they might have had a legitimate reason to pull her record repeatedly. The comments made by individual officers might have been a cause for a suit against individuals, but I don't see why the city paid out on this one.

By Q. on 2013 12 20, 9:17 pm CST

Training should be done with training records. If that were the case, I am sure the argument would have been raised and the access patterns reviewed. That said, personal information should not be used for training. I wouldn't want my personal record used for training regardless of my position or familiarity with the police officers, I also wouldn't want my next physical used for training. Private information is private and the information should not have been accessed except for the intent that the information was provided.

By mike on 2013 12 20, 9:29 pm CST

I disagree.
What have we come to if mere "comments" can be "cause for a suit against individuals"?

Our legal system should not be used to address petty personal issues.

Makes me think about this insipid campaign against "bullying" as if we need more regulations and law suits to make people play nice.

By Hadley V. Baxendale on 2013 12 20, 9:30 pm CST

Evidently the claim *actually* says that she was, in fact, "oogled"

have any of you stopped to consider that? maybe that's just a little more creepy... maybe it's more like googling someone. All I can say is speeling gets resuls. RE$ULT$

By benvoglio on 2013 12 20, 10:13 pm CST

I wonder how anyone determined that the cops were ogling her photo as opposed to looking at it.

By Mr.PC on 2013 12 22, 2:52 am CST

This undoubtedly has more to do with the unauthorized access of her information than about "oogling." In my state, use of driver's license information and other personal information is highly regulated and unauthorized use carries criminal sanctions. It can also result in revocation of your network access.

That said, the creepy factor is also pretty significant here...

By Young APA on 2013 12 23, 4:12 pm CST

@28 You ask: "I wonder how anyone determined that the cops were ogling her photo as opposed to looking at it."

That's an excellent question.

By the way, that is why I indicated @1, above, that it was a shame that this story was not accompanied by a photo. The inclusion of that photo with story would go a long way in answering your question.

By Yankee on 2013 12 23, 8:00 pm CST

I'm not sure which troubles me more, that she got more settlement money than I make in a year, or the nature of the claim itself.

By Tom Youngjohn on 2013 12 27, 2:00 am CST

On edge of my laylady's's response to Qu. re: who (how possible to) determine "oogling" from innocent curiosity? This would be the supervisor's reason to excuse/not discipline the illegal behavior vs the "poor choice".
Thanks for the thoughtful and valuable insight you provide!

By Blondi on 2013 12 31, 9:08 am CST

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