A Michigan woman has accused a police officer of tapping into her baby-monitoring camera with a cell phone to watch her breastfeeding her baby after getting out of her bath, according to a federal lawsuit obtained by PEOPLE.
Megan Pearce, a police dispatcher with the Warren Police Department, says she suffered “extreme emotional trauma” after realizing that she was being spied on in her home, she alleges in the civil suit filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Detroit.
She accuses Michael Emmi, a 15-year officer with Michigan’s Hazel Park Police Department, of accessing her Nest Cam baby monitor and watching her, which she says amounts to an illegal search and a violation of wiretapping, privacy and eavesdropping laws.
“Emmi, who is paid to uphold the law, perversely and illegally spied on her and her infant son, in one of the most intimate and private moments between a mother and her baby imaginable, to satisfy his prurient voyeurism,” the lawsuit alleges.
Events began to unfold on March 2 after Emmi and other officers arrested Pearce’s fiancé and the baby’s father, Cody Fuhrman, on marijuana charges. Pearce’s attorney, Kevin Ernst, tells PEOPLE Fuhrman was a licensed caregiver under the Michigan Medical Marijuana Act, but is accused of having more marijuana than allowed.
Fuhrman’s iPhone, from which he could view goings-on in the nursery via the Nest Cam, was confiscated and “purportedly” logged into evidence, according to the suit. The next day, Pearce took a bath with her baby and then walked into the nursery while both were nude and began breast-feeding him, Ernst says.
After noticing that the camera’s light was flashing, indicating that someone was watching, Pearce activated the “Find my iPhone” feature for Fuhrman’s phone and traced it to Emmi’s home, according to the suit.
“This guy took the evidence home,” Ernst says.
Pearce tried cutting off access from the iPhone to the Nest Cam, and believed she had eliminated the connection. However, that evening as she repeated her routine of bathing and breastfeeding she noticed the camera’s light blinking again, Ernst says.
• Want to keep up with the latest crime coverage? Click here to get breaking crime news, ongoing trial coverage and details of intriguing unsolved cases in the True Crime Newsletter.
"It’s So Sickening"
“He is a creep,” Ernst says of Emmi. “It’s so brazen to me. How did he think he could do this? It’s so sickening.”
In addition to feeling “violated,” Ernst says Pearce is also worried the footage will wind up on the Internet.
Pearce is seeking unspecified monetary damages from Emmi, who is named in the suit as a private individual and not in his role as a police officer.
Hazel Park Police Chief Martin Barner defended Emmi, telling PEOPLE he is a “fine upstanding officer.” Barner added, “I find it very hard to believe that these allegations will be proven in a court of law.”
Barner noted that Pearce’s fiancé has been charged with drug crimes and “this was maybe filed to try to assist her boyfriend in the future,” he says. “I’m not sure it’s retaliation or trying to use it as a bargaining chip.”
Emmi is assigned to a narcotics enforcement team through the Oakland County Sheriff’s Department, which has begun an internal investigation, Barner says.
Emmi could not be reached for comment.