Transgendered Woman Sues D.C. Cops | Courthouse News Service
Tuesday, November 28, 2023
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Tuesday, November 28, 2023 | Back issues
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Transgendered Woman Sues D.C. Cops

WASHINGTON (CN) - A woman who used to be a man says District of Columbia police assaulted, battered, harassed and degraded her and falsely accused her of filing a false police report. Patti Shaw, fka Melvin Hammond, says D.C. cops insisted she was a man and had a male officer search her, while other male officers made degrading comments.

In a rather complicated case, Shaw says she phoned in a report that her purse had been stolen from her home one night, then found the purse, but ended up actually being robbed that night while she took her dogs out.

Shaw says in her Superior Court complaint that when officers finally responded and she told her story, a detective asked rude questions. Several days later, she says, the detective said "that he did not believe her story and he said that he was going to issue a warrant for her arrest for making a false report to a police officer."

Shaw says she was told to turn herself in to the 6th Precinct "within a couple days or she would be arrested."

When she did turn herself in, at 4 a.m., she says, the officers on duty learned that she used to be Melvin Hammond. She says they ignored her legal identification stating that she had become a woman, and threw her in a male holding facility.

Shaw says the cops had a male marshal search her while other marshals joked about her breasts, saying "those must be implants, because hormones don't make breasts stand up so perky like that."

She says another marshal said of her breasts, "He's the best I've ever seen."

"Several of the men in the holding facility touched her inappropriately, verbally harassed and propositioned her, threatened to punch her if she did not show her breasts and shook their penises at her," she says.

Shaw says she asked to be taken to another location to urinate, but was forced "to urinate in a cup in full view of the men in the holding facility."

Shaw says she is a 44-year-old black transgendered woman who had sexual reassignment surgery and has had her sex legally changed to female.

She sued the District of Columbia., the U.S. Attorney General and the U.S. Marshal's Service, alleging civil rights violations, assault, battery, negligence and infliction of emotional distress. She says she suffered physical and emotional damages, including stress, anxiety and depression.

Shaw wants $5 million in compensatory damages and $5 million in punitive damages. She is represented by Karl-Henri Gauvin.

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