SAN FRANCISCO (CN) – The California Highway Patrol refused to investigate a state trooper who allegedly stalked a Brentwood woman, sending her unwelcome sexual advances and a photo of his genitals, she said in a federal complaint Tuesday.
The complaint alleges that former CHP officer Frank Meranda swiped the woman’s phone number and email address off forms she filled out when picking up a towed vehicle in the East Bay town of Martinez in April 2014.
Plaintiff Kamree Miller said Meranda told her to provide her email address, even though it was not required. The harassing phone calls and emails started as soon as she left the building that day, according to the complaint.
She said Meranda called her two to five times daily from CHP phone numbers, saying “inappropriate and unwanted things about her physical appearance.”
In January 2015, the officer sent her a nude photo “with his genitals exposed” from a CHP email address, according to the lawsuit. When Miller didn’t respond, Meranda emailed her again asking if she received the photo and offering to send it again, the complaint alleges.
In December 2016, Meranda allegedly saw Miller in the parking lot of a Brentwood shopping plaza, followed her into a clothing store and gave her an uninvited hug. The harassing emails and phone calls continued until Miller sent Meranda an email posing as her “husband” and asking him to stop, according to the lawsuit.
In July 2017, CHP Sergeant Keerat Lal allegedly called Miller’s boyfriend, the registered owner of the car Miller was driving when she saw Meranda at a shopping plaza months earlier. Miller said she believes the officers unlawfully obtained her boyfriend’s information by looking up the plate number of the car she was driving when she encountered Meranda at the shopping plaza.
According to the lawsuit, Lal tried to intimidate Miller’s boyfriend and told him that Miller was “having an affair” with Meranda.
Lal later invited Miller to come in for an interview regarding her relationship with Meranda. When Miller tried to schedule the interview through her attorney, she was told she could not file a complaint against Meranda with the assistance of a lawyer.
“Sergeant Lal did not initiate any investigation into the conduct of Officer Meranda once he knew that Officer Meranda had conducted illegal acts with respect to Ms. Miller, despite his duty to do so according to CHP policy,” the nine-page complaint states.
The complaint alleges unreasonable search, violation of equal protection rights, violation of state civil rights laws, invasion of privacy, stalking and intentional infliction of emotional distress.
Miller seeks punitive damages and an injunction. She is represented by EmilyRose Johns of Siegel, Yee & Brunner in Oakland.
CHP spokeswoman Fran Clader said Meranda stopped working for the CHP in December 2017 but would not say whether Meranda quit or was fired.
Clader declined to comment on the lawsuit, but said, “the CHP takes any allegation of misconduct by our employees very seriously. Further, when allegations of misconduct by an employee are suspected, the department takes swift and appropriate action to investigate.”