Amy Krekelberg a police officer has been awarded $585,000 by a federal jury in Minnesota after she sued two fellow officers for allegedly violating state law protecting the disclosure of DMV data.
The investigation found more than 50 officers from the Minneapolis Police Department broke a federal privacy law by searching for her driver’s license data without a lawful purpose.
Amy Krekelberg joined Minneapolis Police Department in 2012 and a year later she realized that her fellow colleagues are abusing their access to a government driver’s license database and snooped on thousands of people in the state, mostly women. Krekelberg learned that she was one of them.
Following the audit process she came to know that she came to know that some key information’s like her address, weight, height, and driver’s license pictures—had been viewed nearly 1,000 times since 2003, even though she was never under investigation by law enforcement.
She also learned that over 500 of those lookups were conducted by dozens of other cops and many officers had searched for her in the middle of the night.
Krekelberg joined the Department in 2012, after spending 8 years working elsewhere for the city, mostly as an officer for the Park & Recreation Board.
“The Minnesota case shows that without strong protections, police officers may abuse their data access – even by invading the privacy of their fellow officers, particularly women,” said Sarah St. Vincent, a researcher at Human Rights Watch who observed the trial.
“As Congress and the states consider adopting stronger data protections, they should limit what police can do with personal information.”
Reacting to this Minneapolis City Attorney Susan Segal said “We are exploring options for challenging the verdict,”
“This is the last of this series of Driver Privacy Protection Act cases involving the city. The allegations in these cases involve lookups that happened many years ago, and the city and the police department in particular have taken many measures since then to make sure that we are protecting data privacy.”- she added.
Two of Krekelberg’s lawyers, Sonia Miller-Van Oort and Jonathan Strauss, say that their client suffered harassment from her colleagues for years as the case proceeded, and that in at least one instance, other cops refused to provide Krekelberg with backup support. She now works a desk job.