As temperatures heat up and the Mets barrel toward mathematical elimination from the playoffs, the NYPD brass wanted to take the time to remind the city's finest not to arrest topless women this summer. A New York Times report details the preventive measures taken by the Department to ensure that every officer at every precinct was fully aware that women are totally allowed to walk around the city topless.
The command was read at 10 consecutive roll calls. Each of the city’s 34,000 officers, in theory, got the message: For “simply exposing their breasts in public,” women are guilty of no crime.
It's likely that the NYPD is going to such lengths to verify its officers' understanding of that policy because of an "official memorandum contained in a federal lawsuit" filed by Holly Van Voast, a Bronx photographer and performance artist.
The suit lists 10 episodes in 2011 and 2012 in which the police detained, arrested or issued summonses to Ms. Van Voast, 46, for baring her breasts at sites that included the Oyster Bar in Grand Central Terminal, in front of a Manhattan elementary school, on the A train and outside a Hooters restaurant in Midtown. That last episode, the suit says, ended with her being taken by the police to a nearby hospital for a psychiatric evaluation.
Each of those complaints was for naught, though, thanks to a decision handed down by the New York State Supreme Court in 1992. [The New York Times]