Beth McDonough, "young, single" KSTP producer, sues 40 entities for data snooping
Information in the Driver and Vehicle Services (DVS) database, which contains photos, addresses, and vehicle information, is protected by state and federal law. But in a number of cases (more than a dozen lawsuits like McDonough's have now been filed), the law apparently didn't stop law enforcement agencies from looking up a woman's data for no good reason again... and again... and again.
In 2008, McDonough, then about 40 years old and working as a crime reporter, was fired by FOX 9 after her second drunk-driving arrest. She was hired last year by KSTP as an investigative producer.
The Star Tribune details McDonough's snooping case, which is connected to her career in the media:
McDonough alleges in the complaint that in 2007 or 2008, then-Maple Grove police chief Mona Dohman told her "people are fascinated by you. Be a little careful." Dohman, now the state's public safety commissioner, is among the defendants. A spokesman for her department did not immediately return a message seeking comment.
In 2011, McDonough was covering a shooting in Minneapolis when she overheard an unnamed Minneapolis police officer she did not know say to a colleague, "Oh yeah, she lives in Minnetonka. She's an out-of-stater," according to the complaint.
A year later, an unnamed officer allegedly told McDonough "I like your new car" as she was walking through Minneapolis City Hall. A Minneapolis police spokesman, Sgt. William Palmer, referred an inquiry to the city attorney's office.
The complaint also states that learning about the breach "caused [McDonough's] hands to start shaking and brought her to tears." The "fear and sense of being stalked by those who were supposed to protect her" caused her to leave work early and take sick time.
Jonathan Strauss, one of McDonough's attorneys, told the Strib that "working the crime beat for a news station shouldn't expose your private life to the police."
"We've got a young, single woman, and she shouldn't have to worry about whether everyone with access to this database knows where she lives, if she's moved, or what kind of car she drives," Strauss continued.
-- Follow Aaron Rupar on Twitter at @atrupar. Got a tip? Drop him a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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