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Trooper and Wife Sue Over Stripper Party


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Trooper and Wife Sue Over Stripper Party

By MARK SCOLFORO

Associated Press Writer

August 11, 2004, 12:32 AM EDT

HARRISBURG, Pa. -- A state trooper and his wife have filed a federal lawsuit over his supervisors' investigation of a farewell party at a steak house featuring two strippers.

Omar C. and Billie Shankle allege that as a result of the April 3 surprise party, the Kittanning-based trooper lost a transfer to a vice unit and he and his wife were both deprived of their First Amendment right to free expression.

"Omar has a right to view exotic dancers at a private party in his honor where no laws were broken," according to the lawsuit filed Monday in Harrisburg federal court.

Defendants include state police commissioner Jeffrey B. Miller and other officials. State police spokesman Jack Lewis declined comment.

Shortly after the party, Billie Shankle wrote an anonymous letter to Miller criticizing the department, according to the suit. Omar Shankle disclosed to investigators that his wife wrote the letter.

"Omar Shankle is being punished by the commissioner and his administration because his wife 'openly criticized him,'" the suit said, alleging the existence of a policy requiring subordinates to maintain loyalty to their higher-ups. The policy is known informally in the state police as the "Hitler rule," the suit said.

In May, state police announced that they had cleared more than a dozen troopers of wrongdoing in connection with the party.

The investigation found that there was no sex -- consensual or paid -- at the party. The suit said it was alcohol-free and that a bouncer maintained privacy.

Don Bailey, the Shankles' lawyer, was out of the office and unavailable for comment, his office said Tuesday. No listed number for the Shankles could be found.

Copyright © 2004, The Associated Press

newsday.com

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