The young mother was nude and breastfeeding in her nursery when she saw the nanny cam’s green light flash on.
A 28-year-old dispatcher in Michigan, she quickly realized someone was watching her. Only three devices could access her camera: her iPhone, her iPad, and the cellphone of her fiancé, who was in jail on a marijuana charge.
She activated the “Find my iPhone” function on her beau’s mobile and was horrified: The cellphone’s location allegedly matched the home of a Hazel Park police officer.
These shocking allegations are detailed in a lawsuit filed by Megan Pearce, who accuses officer Michael Emmi of turning into a peeping Tom after arresting her fiancé.
Jonathan Marko, an attorney for Pearce, called the alleged creeping “a huge breach of the public trust.”
“It could be any one of us,” Marko told The Daily Beast. “The idea that a police officer that’s sworn to serve and protect would invade our privacy and watch us in our most intimate moments is terrifying.”
Pearce said she was “shocked, devastated and sad” over the alleged spying by Emmi, a 15-year veteran of the Hazel Park police force, the Detroit News reported.
At a news conference, Pearce said it was “very difficult” to make accusations against a fellow law enforcement officer. But she said her legal action is “absolutely necessary to take this action to prevent this from happening to any future individuals,” according to the News.
The complaint, filed in U.S. District Court, accuses Emmi of violating the Fourth Amendment, federal wiretapping laws, and state laws on invasion of privacy and eavesdropping.
The nanny cam voyeurism allegedly occurred shortly after the March 2 arrest of Pearce’s fiancé, 33-year-old Cody Fuhrman.
Fuhrman, a licensed caregiver under the Michigan Medical Marijuana Act, was charged with felony delivery and manufacture of marijuana and possession of hydrocodone. He pleaded not guilty, court records show.
Emmi was part of a task force that executed search warrants on Fuhrman’s home and other locations as part of the bust. The cop also searched the couple’s nursery but found no contraband, the complaint alleges.
It’s unclear if he saw their nanny cam that day.
According to court papers, the cop seized Fuhrman’s phone the day of his arrest and logged it into evidence at Oakland County Jail’s computer crime lab. But if cell records are any indication, the phone left or never made it to evidence, Marko said.
Pearce would later learn that her fiance’s cellphone showed data usage at a cell tower near Emmi’s residence, the complaint states.
The phone also pinged to Emmi’s residence through a “Find my iPhone” feature, court papers claim.
At least one day after her fiance’s arrest, Pearce saw the small green light flashing on her Nest Cam baby monitor—while she and her son were naked after just leaving the bathtub, the complaint states.
A dispatcher for the Warren Police Department, Pearce’s daily routine consisted of taking her infant son into the tub and bathing him. She would then nurse him and put him to bed, the complaint says.
The Nest Cam’s status light flashes whenever it’s being monitored by a designated device, such as a computer, cellphone, or iPad. The camera also has a sensor that sends alerts to the devices when there is motion in the baby’s room.
“Someone was violating the sanctity and privacy of her home and watching her nurse her son in the nude,” the complaint charges. “The only other device that could access that camera at the time was Cody Fuhrman’s iPhone.”
Pearce immediately tried to disable the phone’s Nest Cam access. But later on, while she was nursing her son and speaking to her brother over the phone, the light flashed once more, she claims.
“Oh my God, someone is watching me again,” Pearce cried, according to the lawsuit. Seconds later, the light turned off and “the peeping Tom detective had been discovered,” the complaint alleges.
The lawsuit states Pearce is under constant stress, fearing the footage from her nanny cam will end up on the Internet.
Hazel Park police didn’t return messages left by The Daily Beast.
But, according to the Detroit Free Press, the police chief said there were no plans to investigate Emmi, whom he called an “exemplary” officer.
Police Chief Martin Barner called the allegations “odd and suspicious,” the Free Press reported.
“I seriously have my doubts if these allegations are true,” Barner said. “How does she know where my officer lived? There are a lot of gray areas here. What is she doing cohabitating with a felon? Maybe she’s got a bigger issue than my officer. There’s a lot more to this than ‘oh this police officer was spying on me while I was naked.’ Seriously?”
This isn’t the first time Emmi has faced legal action.
In 2013, an Oakland County man filed a lawsuit claiming Emmi used a Taser on him at a hospital, where he was transported for suicidal thoughts.
Joshua Clay claimed he “was not violent or combative” that day in 2010 when he refused hospital staff’s orders to remove his clothing. But Emmi and other officers tackled him to the ground and Emmi stunned him with a Taser for a “prolonged period of time,” the court papers claim. The case was settled.
Meanwhile, Emmi was sued in 2010 over an illegal search at a home, where marijuana plants were discovered. Emmi was performing a “welfare check” and didn’t have a warrant, but an appeals court later upheld the search, the Free Press reported.
Marko, an attorney for Pearce, said he was appalled that Hazel Park’s police chief declined to investigate Emmi.
“You would think that in a police department, if somebody made some pretty serious allegations against one of your officers saying they violated the public trust… they would want to ask some questions and investigate,” Marko told The Daily Beast.