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Winnfield, Louisiana ‘Indecent Exposure’ TikTok Controversy

On June 11 2022, a TikTok user going by @kazzi112 shared a clip claiming that she was cited for “indecent exposure” in Winnfield, Louisiana, for wearing the cropped t-shirt and denim cutoffs she wore in the video:

@kazzi112 MAKE IT MAKE SENSE #fuckem #indecentexposure #bs ♬ original sound – Casey

@kazzi112’s clip immediately began drawing interest, and soon millions of views. In a comment on her own post, she added that the outfit (while standard casual attire) was unusually revealing for her, compounding the discomfort of the encounter with police:

The worst part is that I NEVER show this much skin. It took a lot for me to leave the house like this. I was so embarrassed during the citation.

As the TikTok post attracted engagement, predictable claims that the story was fabricated or exaggerated appeared in @kazzi112’s comments. In response, she shared one of several follow-up clips on June 12 2022:

@kazzi112 Keep reporting and I’ll keep reposting!! You won’t shut me up! I did nothing wrong!!! #bs #faceit #offendedyet? ♬ original sound – Casey

The exasperated poster said that “this was too stupid to make up,” and addressed claims that the citation was “light” or “blank.” She held a carbon paper citation close to the camera’s lens, and flipped it over to show a green stamp on the back, which appeared to read “Winnfield City Court.”

In the second clip, she provided additional details about her experience being cited by Winnfield police, stating that she was sitting on a curb with her current and former husbands and their children when she was approached by three “female officers.” After the officers stated they planned to give her a citation for indecent exposure, she recounted telling them: “I live a mile down the road, I can go home and change.”

A commenter responded:

I also live in Louisiana, that was a MODEST everyday summer outfit. I’m so invested [in this incident]

She then said the officers refused to allow her to change, insisting upon citing her for the outfit. @kazzi112 added that the incident caused her significant embarrassment, adding:

“… and, in the state of Louisiana, ‘indecent exposure’ is actually a felony offense. So right now I’m actually looking for [legal] representation …”

It was difficult to determine whether indecent exposure was indeed a felony in the state of Louisiana or what role jurisdiction played in the citation in question. However, a Louisiana criminal defense attorney’s page addressed statutes for “obscenity,” under which “indecent exposure” fell, explaining:

The criminal charge of obscenity in Louisiana is taken very seriously. It is a felony offense that carries a mandatory minimum sentence of six months in prison (possible probation) on the first offense. Therefore, this charge requires serious representation to adequately defend.

[…]

Indecent Exposure Louisiana

Indecent exposure is the underlying act that leads to an obscenity charge. For the prosecutor to prove obscenity in Louisiana, he must prove the defendant intentionally committed indecent exposure, with the intent of arousing someone else sexually, or is reasonably offensive. Therefore, the exposure becomes “indecent” if the intent is to arouse or is offensive. Essentially, indecent exposure in Louisiana is an obscenity charge.

On June 15 2022, the Facebook page for the Winnfield Police Department issued a statement defending the decision to cite @kazzi112 and confirming that the incident took place. The post mentioned the event (“Winnfield’s 6th Annual Dugdemona Festival,”) and objected to “recent posts on social media” about the indecent exposure citation.

In the statement, the Winnfield Police Department also conformed that it cited an “unnamed person” for indecent exposure, quoting a local statute for the reason. No part of the statute’s extensive descriptions seemed to align with @kazzi112’s t-shirt and shorts:

Winnfield Police Department Responds to Social Media

Winnfield’s 6th Annual Dugdemona Festival held on Main Street was an amazing success. However, recent posts to social media have had a negative impact on the service of our police officers during this family fun-filled festival.

An unnamed citizen was cited for a city ordinance and has since taken to a popular social media site, blasting police officers. However, 3 female officers responded to various complaints about the person’s attire and the person of interest was issued a citation under the city ordinance.

The referenced city ordinance is 14-76, passed unanimously by then city council members on 6-14-2011 and is cited as follows:

“It shall be unlawful for any person to wear pants, trousers, shorts, skirts, dresses, or skorts in any public place or places open to the public which either intentionally exposes undergarments or intentionally exposes any portion of the pubic hair, cleft of buttocks, or genitals.” Fines range from $25.00 for a first offense to a maximum of $300, and the person may be ordered to perform up to 40 hours of community service.

The citizen was given a court date in the Winnfield City Court, which is the proper venue to dispute any allegation. A citation, in lieu of arrest, is an allegation of an infraction, not an assumption of guilt.

“We, as public servants, will not engage in a social media war with any one or any organization, as it is improper and brings discredit upon this department. We also cannot comment on details of any case under investigation or pending court action,” stated a department spokesperson.

Commenters on the post were largely sympathetic to the woman the officers had cited, describing Winnfield law enforcement as “the fashion police” and the statement as petty and unnecessary:

“No buttocks, pubic hair, genitals or undergarments were shown. WPD lost their case and violated their own law.”

“Blaming social media for a negative public response to your own public actions is a horrible & weak look for a police department. Y’all are public servants & it’s the publics responsibility to hold y’all accountable in the public square. If y’all don’t like being held accountable in the pubic square, write your congressman & demand the 1st Amendment be abolished. Otherwise put your big boy/girl pants back on & quit acting like a bunch of snow flakes.”

“Your spokesperson needs to be trained on how to give a statement. Sharing a story that happened to you on social media isn’t “blasting police officers”. No one is asking for you to engage in a social media war. They are asking you to apologize for humiliating and unjustly citing a citizen who was simply minding her own business enjoying time with her family at an event. Your inflammatory remarks in this post, however, are engaging in war … You can choose to double down if you’d like, but you can clearly see how well that is going. Failure to admit fault and take accountability for actions is one of the main reasons the public has lost trust in police forces. You are meant to serve and protect. You have become unapproachable, corrupt, unjust abominations of what police forces are meant to stand for. This statement just reinforces it.”

“You’re embarrassing your department by not being upfront about your officers’ abuse of power with giving out an illegal citation. The outfit shown in the viral video did not go against the city ordinance you posted above. Complaints of other citizens does not make the outfit indecent.”

“You do know this can be used in court against you, right?”

In a video posted around June 16 2022, @kazzi112 indicated that she had retained a lawyer. On June 22 2022, @kazzi112 published a video to TikTok with another update.

Text across the video indicated that a request to Winnfield police for body cam footage had yet to be honored:

We put in the request for body cam footage on Monday [June 20 2022]. For 2 days we’ve been getting the run around. They won’t even acknowledge the existence of said footage. It’s ok, I’ll wait. But I won’t do so quietly.

In a viral June 11 2022 TikTok video, user @kazzi112 disclosed she was cited for indecent exposure that day by police in Winnfield, Louisiana. She later shared additional footage of the citation and answered questions about the incident. On June 15 2022, the Facebook page Winnfield Police Dept issued a statement affirming they issued a citation for indecent exposure to “an unnamed citizen,” accusing @kazzi112 of “blasting” the department on social media. As of June 22 2022, @kazzi112’s most recent update indicated that her request for body cam footage of the incident had yet to be honored by the Winnfield Police Department.