PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) – A woman has alleged that a female sheriff’s deputy in Portsmouth City Jail forced her to expose herself in order to obtain feminine hygiene products.
In a lawsuit filed in Portsmouth Circuit Court, attorney Mark Dix claims that the deputy gave former inmate Danaesha Martin the order “not for any legitimate security or correctional purpose but instead to embarrass, humiliate and/or punish Martin.”
Dix also shared an email that he said was sent to jail staff by the chief deputy of jail operations. The email instructs deputies to stop asking female inmates to visually confirm that they are on their cycle in order to receive hygiene products.
“It was a very humiliating traumatizing experience,” Dix told 10 On Your Side. “Very degrading and de-humanizing. And the request that she expose herself was never for any criminal or correctional purposes.”
Dix shared an image of a handwritten complaint from his client to jail staff, dated June 2, 2022, detailing the incident.
“The provision of a sanitary napkin, pad and/or tampon by a correctional officer to a female detainee/inmate is a mere ministerial function that in no way requires the exercise of discretion,” Dix writes.
The suit seeks more than $1 million in damages.
“What my client would like is, number one, she’s never received any kind of apology about this,” Dix said. “They’ve never made any kind of offer to make it right. We believe that she’s entitled to compensatory and punitive damages.”
Undersheriff Marvin Waters denied the allegations in an email.
“The internal investigation, which include interviewing those housed in that unit, found the incident described did not take place,” he wrote.
He also shared that the deputy named in the lawsuit is no longer employed by the Portsmouth Sheriff’s Office.
Dix said that Martin is incarcerated in Iowa on charges unrelated to her case in Portsmouth.