Strippers contest actions by police


Three male strippers sent notice yesterday to the state of their intent to file a claim alleging violations of their civil rights - including allegations that they were forced to pose nude for police photographs.

Edward Cloyd, David Lawrence and Derrick Williams also said in the notice that Maryland Transportation Authority police officers who stopped them for speeding early one morning in March took about $10,000 in cash tips that they had earned from "admiring audience members."

The men will be seeking $5 million, according to the claim notice, which is required by law and puts the state on notice that a lawsuit is being planned. The claim was addressed to state Treasurer Nancy K. Kopp and written by the strippers' lawyer, Jimmy A. Bell of Upper Marlboro.

"They were humiliated, and they want to make sure no one else has to go through this," Bell said. "I don't think you can put a price tag on violations like these."

Cpl. Pamela Thorne, a transportation authority police spokeswoman, said yesterday that "anyone can make accusations" and that the department's internal affairs unit is investigating the men's claims.

After an exotic dancing engagement in Philadelphia, the men were returning March 4 to the Washington area in a 2004 Chevrolet Suburban. Just south of the Harbor Tunnel on Interstate 895, the woman driving the Suburban was pulled over for speeding by an MdTA police officer.

The officer, identified in the notice of claim as "Officer Leary," searched the men and arrested them after finding a small amount of marijuana on the roadside, Bell said.

The three men and the driver were taken to a police station, Bell said, where the men's money was confiscated by a person identified in the notice of claim as "Detective Kent."

What happened next, Bell said, was "humiliating."

According to the notice of claim: "Even more bizarrely, even though each client was charged with misdemeanor possession ... each of the three of them was required by Detective Kent to strip and pose for full body photographs while in custody."

Kent told them it was necessary to document any tattoos. Then he said, "I'm not gay, now strip," according to the notice of claim.

Thorne said she saw "no reason" that nude photographs would be taken.

Court records show that the misdemeanor drug possession charges against Cloyd, 29, of Washington; his brother, Lawrence, 30, of Severn; and Williams, 30, of College Park have all been dropped by Baltimore prosecutors.

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