Woman: Officers took naked pictures during bust

August 5, 2010 12:59:17 PM PDT
Two undercover Houston police officers are accused of going too far during a prostitution bust. A complaint has been filed with the department. Sources tell Eyewitness News the two officers, who we're not naming because they have not been charged with a crime or formally disciplined, are the subjects of an internal affairs investigation. The sources say what they're accused of doing is not unusual in their line of work. But the woman they busted thinks it's not right.

"You can hear the clothes coming off on the tape," Defense Attorney Windi Akins Pastorini said.

Pastorini says that's the sound of one of Houston's finest taking his clothes off. He's in a hotel room with one woman just before she's busted on a prostitution charge.

"He was looking for someone to go back to his room with him," said the 28-year-old exotic dancer who filed the complaint.

"I think they do it for the thrill," Pastorini said.

The exotic dancer says the night back in March started at Treasures. A man she now knows is a Houston vice officer offered her $700 to meet him at his hotel room at the downtown Hyatt. She showed up. She says they both got naked.

A police audio tape her lawyer gave Eyewitness News picks up the arrest from there:

Dancer: "Hold on, maybe you're the police. I'm like.." (laughs)
Cop: "Actually, I am the police, honey."
Dancer: "Oh, nuh-uh..."(laughs)
Cop: "Yeah, I'm a cop."
Dancer: "Really."
Cop: "Yeah."
Dancer: "You're lying."
Cop: "No, I'm not lying."

Still in shock, the woman, whom Eyewitness News agreed not to identify, says another officer then entered the room to take photos with his cell phone despite her protests.

"Oh my God. No! Uh-uh. No, no, no, no, no, no, no. You are not taking no pictures of me naked. No! You're not taking. No! no! no, you're not. No!" the dancer is heard saying on the tape.

Luring her to the hotel room, the undressing, the photos, the woman and her attorney think the officers went too far.

"The act is complete when the proposition is made," Pastorini said. "There's no justification for humiliation or this form of brutality."

"I think it's a way for them to use taxpayers' money for them to have a good time and go out and see naked girls," the dancer said.

In response, a spokeswoman for the department says "HPD does not publicly discuss our protocols related to undercover investigations."

The woman has filed a complaint with internal affairs, and on Wednesday, her prostitution charge was dropped, but Eyewitness News doesn't know exactly why. The district attorney's office will only say, "We are looking into the reasons for the dismissal."

"They did the right thing," Pastorini said.

Pastorini thinks it has everything to do with how the officers conducted their investigation.

She said, "You don't get to arrest someone and then take pictures of them naked!"

Pastorini doesn't know where those pictures are now, which worries her client.

"It's very embarrassing," the dancer said. "It's one thing, yeah, I know that I do work at a strip club, but I get naked in a strip club. You have to come there to see me. There's not pictures coming out of a strip club."

"I just don't think it's right for them to go that far," she added.

HPD says the two officers are working their normal shifts. Other than that, they don't discuss internal affairs investigations.


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