A New Jersey transgender woman is filing suit after she felt ‘humiliated, intimidated and abused’ by an off-duty police officer who forced her to pull down her pants because she had been accused of shoplifting.
The transgender woman, who is transitioning into a man, was wearing a prosthetic penis, reports NJ.com.
She was at a Food Fair grocery store in Paterson on May 12 when the man, who was working security and wore an Essex County sheriff’s uniform, approached her to demand to see what was in her pants.
She told the officer that she was a transgender woman who wears a prosthetic penis. The officer said he would call a female officer to inspect her.
A female cashier ended up doing the inspection in a store restroom.
The suit notes that the transgender woman ‘felt scared, humiliated, intimated and abused’.
The officer apologized after the ordeal.
The transgender woman’s attorney said he believes that the officer saw the prosthetic penis and believed it was store merchandise.
The suit alleges false imprisonment and discrimination and seeks monetary damages.
Neither the officer nor the transgender woman have been identified.
An Essex County spokesman told NJ.com that he was not aware of the lawsuit.