Updates to our Terms of Use

We are updating our Terms of Use. Please carefully review the updated Terms before proceeding to our website.

Friday, June 21, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

NYPD Assailed for Arresting Topless Woman

BROOKLYN, N.Y. (CN) - A woman says the New York City Police Department trampled her civil rights by arresting her for sunbathing topless on a park bench.

Jessica Krigsman says in Kings County Supreme Court that she was sitting topless on a bench in Calvert Vaux Park on July 12, 2012, when two police officers approached her and told her to put her shirt on.

The Brooklyn woman "then politely told the defendant police officers that in 1992," the New York State Court of Appeals held in People v. Santorelli that it is legal for a woman to be topless in any public place in New York State where it is legal for a man to be topless, according to the complaint.

One of the officers then allegedly told Krigsman to "stop mouthing off," and that she would be arrested if she didn't put her shirt on.

Krigsman says she refused, leading one of the officers to pull her shirt on over her head for her "in a very aggressive manner."

The officers then arrested Krigsman and took her to a police precinct where she was held for five hours before being issued a summons for obstruction of a sitting area, according to the complaint.

Krigsman says the charges against her were dropped in court three months later.

The NYPD did not immediately respond to a request for comment late Monday night.

Krigsman's lawsuit gives only the last name of one police officer, Canavan, while the others are unknown.

In May 2013, a performance artist named Holly Van Voast claimed in Manhattan Federal Court that she was unfairly arrested for baring her breasts while wearing a Marilyn Monroe wig and Don Juan mustache.

Both women have cited the Santorelli opinion.

In February 2013, the New York City Police Department commanded its officers to not cite or arrest women for exposing their breasts in public.

Krigsmen seeks unspecified damages for civil rights violations, malicious prosecution, assault and battery.

She is represented by Stuart Jacobs with Jacobs & Hazan in Manhattan.

Categories / Uncategorized

Subscribe to Closing Arguments

Sign up for new weekly newsletter Closing Arguments to get the latest about ongoing trials, major litigation and hot cases and rulings in courthouses around the U.S. and the world.