Transgender woman settles lawsuit with Boston over treatment during 2010 arrest

The Boston Globe
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February 5, 2013

The city of Boston has agreed to pay a transgender woman $20,000 in exchange for dropping her suit against the officers who arrested her on disorderly conduct at a homeless shelter, in a case that highlights the department’s absence of written policies for dealing with transgender people. The officers who arrested Brenda Wernikoff are now being investigated by the department’s internal affairs division. The department is also continuing to work on training its officers on how to interact with the transgender community. According to Wernikoff, Boston police did not just book her, they humiliated her. After she was arrested for refusing to leave a woman’s bathroom at a homeless shelter, she said four to five male officers at the South End police station forced her to remove her shirt and bra and expose her breasts. According to the federal lawsuit, “The officers then ordered Ms. Wernikoff to jump and down, causing her breasts to jiggle” as the officers laughed. “I mean belly laughs,” Wernikoff said, describing the May 2010 incident.