Three undercover Minneapolis cops are suing the city, county, and state of Minnesota after their names were made public in connection to an investigation into prostitution at city massage parlors. The officers’ complaint would be understandable if it weren’t for the circumstances under which their names were released: they were reprimanded for allegedly having gone a little too deep undercover during the hooker bust, if you’re picking up what I’m laying down.
In August, three prostitution cases in the city were thrown out when prosecutors discovered that officers had engaged in sexual contact with their targets before arresting them. The lawsuit alleges that by failing to redact the officers’ names throughout the legal process, the government violated their privacy as undercover officers under the Minnesota Data Practices Act.
The suit does not name its plaintiffs—the officers are referred to as John Does—or even make explicit reference to the massage parlor busts. But their backroom rendezvouses were reported, names included, when the cases were first thrown out over the summer. They are officers Steve Lecy, Christopher Reiter, and Abubakar Muridi. Here’s how the Minneapolis Star Tribune described Lecy’s encounter back in August:
On the recording, after nearly 30 minutes of small talk about tattoos, the weather and his broken hand, Lecy, who also compliments the woman’s anatomy, interrupts the massage and asks the woman if she wants him to flip onto his back. She begins touching his genitals as part of a naked “body-to-body” massage. Lecy can be heard moaning. A few moments later, he says the words “repeat customers,” code to backup officers that it’s time for an arrest. They then enter the room.
Nearly 20 minutes into his interaction with the woman, court documents say, Reiter pointed to his groin after she asked “if there were any areas she had missed.” She started to rub his genitals and they negotiated a price for further action “that would take care of him,” the documents say.
She was arrested in May after officer Abubakar Muridi asked her to rub his genitals before he negotiated a price for sex, Dean said.
The officers claim that the alleged HJs were a necessary part of the policing process; prosecutors argued that arrests could have been made before the stroking actually began. “My hope is that the Police Department will finally stop engaging in the outrageous conduct of having sexual relations with the targets of their investigations,” a defense attorney for one of the women said after her cases were dismissed. It doesn’t seem like that should be so hard.