A third woman came forward today to say a Suffolk County police officer, who allegedly made women strip, also suggested she undress in exchange for letting her go without a citation.
Tracy Deon, a 34-year-old waitress from Rocky Point, N.Y., said she ran into Officer Frank Wright in September after she had a fight with her husband. She had gone to a bar had a few drinks and pulled off the highway in Montauk where she fell asleep.
Deon said Wright didn’t order her to strip, but “he made me feel that if I gave him what I wanted, he would let me go.”
“He cocked his head to the right, implying that I should pull up my blouse,” said Deon. “I pulled up my blouse and he kept looking. I then pulled up my bra and he flashed the flashlight on me.”
Earlier this week, Juliana Rubio, 19, and 27-year-old Angelina Torres, said Wright forced them to undress as a punishment for failing drunken driving tests.
Suffolk County Police Commissioner John Gallagher said that Wright, a 12-year veteran, has admitted telling one of the women that “he made men take their clothes off and walk home naked for drunk driving but that he never suggested that she do it.”
Despite the comment, Gallagher said, the officer denied actually making men or women take their clothes off in the past.
Wright was suspended without pay today as an investigation into the three cases continues.
“We make a pledge to keep people safe in their homes and on the streets,” Gallagher said. “If these charges turn out to be true, it will be the ultimate violation of that oath.”
Civil Rights Violations Investigated
Attorney Gary Gramer, who represents Rubio and Torres, the first woman to come forward, said the FBI is looking into possible civil rights violations. Torres and Rubio are Hispanic and Deon is an American Indian.
The two women are also planning to sue Suffolk County for $15 million each.
Rubio, who could barely compose herself during a news conference today, said, she was driving with her friends on Dec. 27 when she was pulled over by an officer fitting Wright’s description. She said he told her friends she was being arrested for driving while intoxicated, handcuffed her, put her in the back of the police cruiser, and drove to an empty parking lot.
“I was alone. I was so scared. He asked me if I would learn a lesson with no clothes on and freezing. I’m crying and I’m scared,” she said. “He kept asking me if I thought I’d learn my lesson if I stood outside with no clothes on.”
Naked and standing outside in nothing but her socks, she said, “I didn’t know what to do. I was terrified. He stood there laughing at me, asking me if I was cold, asking me if I was embarrassed. He kept asking me if I learned my lesson. It was windy and cold and he kept the flashlight on me.”
“The investigations are still going on and they are following the regular course,” said Lt. William Rohrer, spokesman for the Suffolk County Police Department.
‘The Most Humiliating Experience’
Rubio came forward with her allegation a day after Torres said Wright forced her to walk home several blocks in her underwear in below-freezing temperatures after she failed a Breathalyzer test on New Year’s Eve.
After failing the test she alleges the officer ordered her into his police cruiser and drove her to a parking lot about 5 miles away.