Las Vegas officer investigated in motorist stops resigns

A Las Vegas police officer accused of stopping female drivers while on duty and coercing them into exposing their breasts resigned Tuesday.

Sgt. John Sheahan said Wednesday that officer John Norman is no longer employed with the Metropolitan Police Department. Norman had been on unpaid leave.

He was booked into the Clark County Detention Center on Feb. 1 on felony charges of coercion and oppression under the color of office and misdemeanor open or gross lewdness.

Police allege Norman in 2011 pulled over two women in separate traffic stops and compelled them to show their breasts. He also is accused of fondling one of the women.

Sheahan said that although Norman has resigned, allegations against him are still being investigated by officials in Internal Affairs.

Police also conducted a criminal investigation of Norman.

"We are just as quick to take action on people internally as we are on our day-to-day duties," Sheahan said. "This is an example of thorough and successful investigations, both internally and externally."

Norman could not be reached for comment Wednesday.

Allegations of misconduct also were made against Norman by two other women. Those allegations were investigated but did not rise to the level of crimes, police said.

But those allegations, which police haven’t detailed, might involve a breach of internal regulations concerning conduct unbecoming an officer.

According to Norman’s arrest report, a woman on Dec. 28 reported to police that she had been pulled over and groped during a traffic stop.

Police said the stop occurred Dec. 11 near Tropicana and Eastern avenues.

Norman told her to pull into the back of a church parking lot so he could conduct some tests.

The report said that during the traffic stop, the woman told Norman that she had a prior arrest for driving under the influence and that during the arrest marijuana was found.

Norman told the woman he stopped her because she didn’t have license plate lights.

The report said Norman asked to "physically search" her.

The woman consented. Norman asked whether she would be more comfortable if a female officer conducted the search. Norman then told the woman he needed to search her bra "because women put things in their bra or sew things into their bra," the report said.

There were two other women inside the stopped vehicle. Norman turned on his patrol car’s spotlight and shined it on the car that was pulled over. In hindsight, the woman involved believed "this was done to prevent the girls in the car from witnessing what happened," the report said.

Norman then asked the woman to lift her shirt. At one point, she took off her bra on his order, and he groped her, the report said.

Norman told the woman he was not going to cite her because of her cooperation. He let her go without performing a field sobriety test.

The woman was unable to pick Norman out of a photo lineup.

The bra worn by the woman during the stop was taken as evidence to be tested for Norman’s DNA.

On Jan. 1, a second woman came forward and told investigators that she, her cousin and her cousin’s children were at a convenience store June 23 when they noticed a uniformed officer looking at them.

The officer was later identified as Norman.

Norman followed the group out of the store. When the woman pulled her vehicle into an apartment complex near Flamingo and Paradise roads, Norman blocked them with his patrol vehicle and approached, the report said.

He told the driver he didn’t have a reason to stop her but said they were in a high-crime area.

One of the women admitted to Norman that she had warrants for traffic offenses, the report said.

Norman told her he was going to arrest her for the warrants.

While patting her down, Norman asked her to put her fingers under her bra and shake it to makes sure nothing was in the bra. The report said Norman searched her twice before putting her in the back of his patrol car. He then drove around the corner.

Norman told the woman it was her lucky day because he had to go out on a "hot call" so she wasn’t going to be arrested. When he removed her handcuffs, he repeatedly ask whether she had anything hidden in her bra.

Norman also said she wasn’t doing what he asked correctly. After asking her a third time to shake out her bra, he said: "My, aren’t we bashful today," the report said

The fearful and frustrated woman sensed that Norman wanted to see her breasts, pulled down her shirt and bra and exposed her right breast, the report said.

Norman then told her she was free to go, the report said.

The woman in the second case was able to pick out Norman in a photo lineup.

Norman’s next court appearance is scheduled for June 25.

Review-Journal writer Francis McCabe contributed to this report. Contact reporter Antonio Planas at aplanas@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-4638.

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