In Colorado, a transgender woman faced a humiliating body cavity search at the hands of the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office in 2020 when she was arrested during a George Floyd protest.
Juniper McGinn requested that a female deputy conduct the search but was denied, even though she is a woman. The female deputy conducted a search on McGinn’s upper body but then a male deputy conducted the rest of the search.
Then, when McGinn was made to take a shower, five male deputies watched the body cavity search and McGinn showering, laughing at her as she showered.
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McGinn is suing the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office for emotional distress after the humiliating experience.
“There was no basis to have five deputies watching Ms. McGinn as she showered and was subjected to a visual body-cavity search,” the lawsuit states. “El Paso County officials’ derogatory visual body-cavity search of Ms. McGinn led her to suffer significant emotional distress.”
The suit states that the way El Paso County, a predominantly Republican enclave within the more liberal state of Colorado, treats transgender inmates and individuals is discriminatory and unconstitutional.
And this isn’t the first time a situation such as McGinn’s has occurred in El Paso County.
The suit also tells the story of Darlene Griffith, another transgender individual that faced the cruelty and humiliation of the El Paso Sheriff’s Office in the same year of 2020.
Griffith was subject to the same type of body cavity search by a male deputy who made obscene statements at her while she was being searched.
“The male deputy then told Ms. Griffith to step back, bend over, and ‘spread [her] sexy cheeks.’ Ms. Griffith protested the male deputy’s use of this derogatory language but complied with his directive,” the suit claims. “The male deputy then told Ms. Griffith that he was ‘going to go balls deep in that ass’ while grabbing his own penis in view of Ms. Griffith.”
None of the other deputies a part of Griffith’s search were disciplined for their inappropriate behavior.
“What happened to Ms. Griffith is another example of the derogatory actions that are customarily inflicted on transgender women at the El Paso County jail,” the suit states.
Sheriff Bill Elder is named in the suit for allegedly promoting anti-transgender treatment.
“In fact, the El Paso County Jail’s policies, which were promulgated by Sheriff Bill Elder, required that deputies perform highly invasive cross-gender visual body cavity searches of transgender inmates,” McGinn states in her suit.