NASHVILLE (CN) - Telling her not to wake up her parents, a sheriff's deputy followed a teenager into her bedroom and made her change her clothes while he photographed her, the girl claims in court.
Jane Doe's parents Tabetha and Ricky O'Connor sued Sumner County, Tenn., and its Deputy Sheriff Christopher Cunningham, in Federal Court.
The complaint cites a dozen disciplinary actions against Cunningham, allegedly culminating with his firing after the incidents described in the complaint.
The parents claim that Cunningham stopped Jane, her boyfriend and her brother on the street at 3 a.m. and searched them, then took them back to their house.
The family claims that the kids, who had done nothing wrong, were intimidated by Cunningham's display of authority, and obeyed his orders.
"On July 26, 2012, at approximately 3 a.m., Deputy Cunningham observed Jane Doe, her boyfriend, John Doe and Shawn O'Connor on Mt. Vernon Road," the complaint states. "Jane Doe was 13 years old, John Doe was 16 years old and [Jane's brother] Shawn O'Connor was 18 years old. Plaintiff Shawn O'Connor has developmental disabilities. At the time of this initial observation, Deputy Cunningham did not observe any conduct between the three children which would indicate that a crime had been committed or that the children were engaged in criminal activity. Accordingly, there was no probable cause or reasonable suspicion to believe that the children were engaged in criminal behavior or were armed and dangerous."
Cunningham took the teen-agers to his police car, interrogated them, and subjected Jane to a pat-down search, without calling the kids' parents or reading their rights, according to the complaint.
"Despite the fact that Jane Doe and John Doe were minors, Deputy Cunningham failed to contact their parents," the complaint states. "Instead, Deputy Cunningham proceeded to interrogate the children without parental consent and without providing the requisite Miranda rights. During the course of this interrogation, Deputy Cunningham was informed that Jane Doe and John Doe had been in a verbal argument over a text message. Deputy Cunningham asked Jane Doe to let her [sic] view the text message. Jane Doe informed Deputy Cunningham that she did not have her phone and that the text message had been erased. Despite this fact, Deputy Cunningham informed Jane Doe that he needed to review the phone.
"Deputy Cunningham then ordered John Doe and Shawn O'Connor to the front of the patrol vehicle and ordered Jane Doe to come with Deputy Cunningham to the rear of the patrol car. Jane Doe was wearing a pair of gym shorts with a sleeveless shirt. Therefore, it would be obvious to any reasonable officer that Jane Doe was not concealing any weapons or contraband and that any physical search of Jane Doe's body would be illegal and unconstitutional.