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Friday, May 17, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

‘Beauty and Badge’ Reality Cop Show Sued

CHICAGO (CN) - A 25-year-old woman says the Biography Channel's "Female Forces" TV series staged, filmed, edited and sensationalized her arrest and broadcast it. The show follows female Naperville officers at work under the tagline, "Brains, beauty and a badge."

Plaintiff Eran Best's lawsuit is the second recent federal complaint against the show that promotes itself by saying, "In each episode of 'Female Forces,' viewers ride shotgun with the female officers from the Naperville, Illinois Police Department as they fight a full gamut of big city crime in the suburbs of Chicago."

The series is produced by The Greif Co. and A Day With for A&E Television Networks in cooperation with the City of Naperville, all of them defendants in Best's case, along with Naperville polices Officer Stacy Malec and Timothy Boogerd.

(In November, sisters Chelsea Frederick and Ferrara Daum claimed the show broadcast their images against their will in an episode that featured one's arrest in "lascivious" circumstances that created a "derogatory and negative" impression of both of them. The sisters said the show filmed 20-year-old Frederick's arrest despite her protests, focused on her sagging pajama bottoms and aired the footage without consent in a "maliciously edited" episode.)

According to both complaints, a male officer detained the young women to wait for a female officer and camera crew.

Best says that Boogerd stopped her for an expired license plate sticker. When Malec arrived with the crew, Best says, she and Boogerd subjected Best to field sobriety tests to create sensational footage.

They arrested Best for driving on a suspended license. She says Boogerd told her the footage would not be shown without her consent. She says the crew supervisor repeatedly asked for consent, which she refused.

Best says she was surprised, humiliated and devastated when she was featured in a recurring episode that is also available for download or Web broadcast.

She says the footage showed private information in a close-up of the squad car computer. It showed the officers mocking and demeaning her while she was out of earshot, and featured a voiceover in which Malec claimed Best had been drinking "a little bit."

It also highlighted the officers' search of her car, during which they criticized her Coach articles.

The episode concluded with Malec saying, "Do I feel sorry for her? No! Pretty little blond girl, 25 years old driving a Jaguar - Yeah, that's Naperville for you."

Best says the footage was intended to insult and humiliate her.

She says the officers seized her unreasonably and played to the camera to create more dramatic footage.

She also claims they televised the edited and humiliating arrest, her identity and her private information for commercial purposes without her consent.

Best seeks an injunction and punitive damages for violations of her privacy, civil rights, publicity rights, Personal Information Protection Act violations and intentional infliction of emotional distress. She is represented by Thomas Zimmerman.

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