Police apologise for officer taking photos of a girl's chest

  • 13/04/2018
A Dunedin police officer photographed a driver in an effort to confirm her identity.
A Dunedin police officer photographed a driver in an effort to confirm her identity. Photo credit: Getty

Police have apologised for an officer's actions after he took photos of a 16-year-old girl he pulled over.

A Dunedin police officer photographed a driver in an effort to confirm her identity after she was stopped for speeding in Kaikorai on March 24, Southern district commander Superintendent Paul Basham told Newshub. 

Sadonia Folimatama's mother, Irene Harris complained about the officer's actions, which included taking two photos of a tattoo on her daughter's chest. This triggered the police investigation.

Mr Basham said "We have conducted a preliminary investigation into this matter. We have established the officer took certain steps to identify the individual as he was unable to do so through the police system at that time. 

"However we accept that the officer could have applied better judgement in this situation, and this will be followed up with the officer."

Ms Folimatama said she was driving from her home in Brockville along Kaikorai Valley Rd, March 24, when the officer signalled for her to pull over because she was driving at 60kph in a 50kph zone.

The officer asked for her license and she admitted she was a learner driver and did not have her license. 

She told the ODT "He asked if I had any other form of identification, and I said,"no,I don't sorry"".

He asked her to sit in his patrol car so he could try find her within the system, which he couldn't but found out the car belonged to her partner and asked for his details. 

"He still couldn't find me. He was on his phone and turned around to me and said 'do you have a birthmark on your leg?' And I thought it was a bizarre question. I asked 'why would the birthmark be in your system?'"

He allegedly replied that it might have been logged from a previous time she was pulled over or visited the police station.

Ms Folimatama alleges the officer asked to take photos of her three tattoos, on her arm, neck and chest.

She said he took one photo each of the tattoos on her arm and neck, but multiple photos of the tattoo on her chest, below her collar bone.

Eventually she was let go with a $100 ticket for the offence of driving without supervision on a learner license. 

She says the officer was in his 60's and the incident made her feel "really uncomfortable".

Ms Folimatama has been contacted by Newshub.