Battle Creek reaches settlement with 4 female officers

The settlement includes officers Laurie Gillespie, Jennifer McCaughna, Shawn O'Bryant and Jennifer Appl

BATTLE CREEK, Mich. (WOOD) — Federal court documents show the City of Battle Creek has reached a proposed settlement with four female police officers after the police department put a video camera in the women’s locker room.

The terms of the settlement are currently unknown and need to be approved by the Battle Creek City Commission, which could happen after a closed session at Tuesday night’s public commission meeting.

Officers Laurie Gillespie, Jennifer McCaughna, Shawn O’Bryant and Jennifer Appl sued the city and department leaders after they learned a video camera had been placed in the women’s locker room sometime around January 2013 after complaints were made of theft from officer’s lockers.

According to court documents and an internal Battle Creek Police Department Investigation, Gillespie was caught on camera going through coats in other officer’s lockers and later admitted that she took $20 from one officer’s coat.

As part of the investigation, a meeting was held with department leaders, Gillespie and her union representative, where a portion of the video was shown. Many people in the room were men. However, there is dispute as to whether the video shown showed Gillespie in a state of undress.

While the camera was in operation, it captured female officers in various stages of undress. The female officer sued, saying the camera was an invasion of privacy and violated their civil rights.

The city claims it sought legal advice on whether the installation of the camera would be legal, and was told it would be before a female inspector placed the hidden camera in the locker room.

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