A California Highway Patrol officer confessed to investigators that he and fellow officers have been sharing nude cell phone photos of suspected female DUI suspects.
According to search warrant records obtained by the Contra Costa Times, CHP Officer Sean Harrington, 35, of Martinez has admitted that he sent nude pictures of female DUI suspects from their cell phones directly to his phone. Moreover, he admitted that the practice of sending and sharing the nude images has gone on for years among CHP officers from its Los Angeles office to his own Dublin station.
A Contra Costa District Attorney investigator has recommended felony computer theft charges against Harrington, who according to the search warrant said that it is a “game” among officers.
CHP Commissioner Joe Farrow said in a statement that “The allegations anger and disgust me,” and added that he expects the “highest levels of integrity and moral strength from everyone in the California Highway Patrol, and there is no place in our organization for such behavior.”
The Times further reported that, because of the police officers’ behavior, Contra Costa County prosecutors say that the conduct of the officers could undermine any criminal cases in which they are witnesses. So far, none of the officers involved have been indicted.
Rick Madsen, the attorney for a 23-year-old San Ramon woman, who first reported that Harrington had forwarded her cell phone photos, claims that the allegations are “far-reaching and very damaging.” The unidentified woman had noticed on her iPad that some of her photos had been sent to an unknown phone number. Harrington allegedly erased the forwarded photos from the phone but didn’t realize that the cell phone had been linked to the iPad.
“The callousness and depravity with which these officers communicated about my client is dehumanizing, horribly offensive, and degrading to all women,” Madsen asserted. “It’s going to lead to another level of mistrust and skepticism to the motive of law enforcement in general.”