Pasadena Police Deny Mother and Daughter’s Allegation of Sexual Assault During Traffic Stop; Footage Released

Pasadena police denied a mother and daughter's allegation of sexual assault during a 2016 traffic stop, releasing recordings of the incident on Tuesday.

Pasadena residents Sharell Thompson, 43, and her 22-year-old daughter, Sharaya Brown, filed a lawsuit against the agency in April, nearly two years after the encounter near the intersection of Altadena Drive and Foothill Boulevard.

In a video and anĀ audio clip released by the Police Department, two officers are seen and heard stopping Thompson and Brown the afternoon of May 2, 2016. The two are told that an air unit spotted their vehicle running a stop sign.

The footage from the officers' patrol car shows Thompson apparently complying with orders, getting out from the front passenger seat and lifting her shirt up, exposing her midriff.

Brown then exits from the driver's seat and also appears to follow orders as an officer searches her.

Minutes later, one of the officers looks through their car while the other speaks to Thompson and Brown as they sit on the curb.

"This is all unacceptable," Thompson says at one point, apparently upset.

"I understand," the officer responds.

The video, which lasts more than 25 minutes, ends with Brown returning to the car and Thompson speaking to one of the officers on the sidewalk.

Thompson and Brown's lawsuit describes the incident as "a nightmare of a traffic stop."

Their attorneys postponed a Tuesday evening news conference after police released the recordings. According to their clients, the video released was an edited version that did not show the full extent of the officers' behavior.

The city of Pasadena responded by calling the law firm's "attempt...to discredit" the footage "baseless."

Officials added that the only change made in the video was the blurring of the vehicle's license plate number for the sake of the mother and daughter's protection. The city also noted that since the traffic stop happened in 2016, body cameras had not yet been implemented.

The law firm has not set a new date for the postponed press event.

In the lawsuit, the defendants accused Officer Brendan Thebeau of forcing Thompson to "expose her breast in public."

The other officer, only identified in the court filing as Carey, used his "bare hands to rub [Brown] between her legs, in the area of her crotch and vagina, placing his hands in her pants pockets, front and back, and reaching inside the back of her pants in the area of her buttocks," the complaint said.

After the officers issued Brown a warning citation for failure to stop at a stop sign, the mother and daughter drove to the Pasadena Police Department to file a complaint, according to the lawsuit. The agency "did virtually nothing in response," the court filing said.

The Police Department said it conducted a thorough assessment of the incident and that the recording of the traffic stop "clearly shows that the officers acted appropriately."

"The allegations were unfounded, as they did not occur," Lt. Jason Clawson told KTLA.

The lawsuit sought $25 million in damages.