New York police called in line: women can go topless
As the summer sun shines in New York, many city dwellers will head to Central Park to soak up some vitamin D. And if police see topless female sunbathers, they have been reminded to let them be.Updated: Jun 03, 2013, 23:07 IST
As the summer sun shines in New York, many city dwellers will head to Central Park to soak up some vitamin D. And if police see topless female sunbathers, they have been reminded to let them be.
In February, the New York Police Department (NYPD) issued a somewhat unusual memo to its officers, and multiple reminders since then: a 1992 court decision states that women can bare their breasts without penalty.
"Members of the service are directed not to issue summonses, or take other enforcement action, against male or female individuals who are simply appearing in public unclothed above their waist," an NYPD memo says.
The freedom to go topless is one embraced by artist Holly Van Voast, who has made it a point to bare her breasts in public as often as possible. But she says the police are not playing by the rules.
She claims to have been arrested dozens of times. On occasion, she says she has been handcuffed, detained for hours before being released and received summonses for "indecent exposure."
The colorful artist -- a platinum blonde with a fake dark mustache -- filed a complaint last month in a federal court in New York against the city and the NYPD, accusing them of harassment.
Her complaint states she was once "detained in the psychiatric hospital against her will for approximately six days" after being arrested near an elementary school in March 2012.
Her complaint recalls the 1992 ruling and cites the NYPD memo. She is seeking unspecified punitive damages and compensation.