The Mayor of Akranes wants to know why police in her town arrested and strip-searched a 16-year-old girl who had committed no crime.
“I sent a letter yesterday to the Chief of the West Iceland police and asked for an explanation as to why Child Protective Services in Akranes were not informed,” Akranes mayor Regína Ásvaldsdóttir told RÚV. “I have naturally only received a confirmation that the letter has been received, and I think they’re looking into and investigating this.”
As reported, the girl in question was amongst of group of young people traveling by car from Ólafsvík to Reykjavík when they were stopped by police in Akranes. Everybody in the car was arrested and taken into custody, suspected of being in possession of drugs.
The girl was subsequently put in a cell with another girl, who was also a minor, and then ordered by a female police officer to remove all her clothes. After complying, she was then ordered to bend over, whereupon the officer examined her buttocks and genitals.
Not only were no drugs found on the girl – neither her parents nor Child Protective Services were contacted ahead of time, as must be done when an underage person is put in such a situation. No drugs were found on any of the other people traveling, nor in their car.
A lawyer for the girl has demanded an explanation as to why the girl was subjected to this treatment, and has put in a formal request for all documentation about the matter. According to police reports, the girl was not made to strip completely, but rather the officer in question “peered down into her underwear” in search of drugs. Police say they were tipped off by an anonymous source, prompting the traffic stop.
The girl is currently filing a lawsuit against the state over the matter, and her lawyer says she has had to deal with emotional and psychological damage from the incident. Police have not yet responded to a request from reporters for comment.