Women have the right to bare breasts on the streets of New York City, New York Times reports
11:36 AM, May 16, 2013
5:46 AM, May 17, 2013
NEW YORK - Women who wish to walk around topless without the threat of being arrested should try their luck in the Big Apple.
As of February of this year, New York City police were instructed to refrain from arresting women baring their breasts, the New York Times reports.
Why? An explanation offered is the case of Holly Van Voast, a photographer and performance artist who had been arrested several time in 2011 and 2012 for walking the streets topless.
Voast, 46, had reportedly strolled in the buff at a variety of places, including a restaurant, in front of an elementary school and the A train.
But every complaint ever made against Voast was dropped, because she had every right to show her chest, thanks to a New York court ruling handed down over twenty years ago.
The law states that publicly baring your chest, whether male or female, is legal, so long as it's noncommercial activity.
Officers "shall not enforce any section of law, including penal law sections
245.00 (public lewdness) and
245.01 (exposure of a person) against female individuals who are simply exposing their breasts in public," the February memo reads.
Voast's lawyer said as of 2013, the arresting of the photographer came to a halt.
While the law enforcement agency won't confirm the memo to officers was connected to Voast, Voast mentioned that memo in a federal lawsuit she filed in New York Wednesday.
After being arrested on multiple occasions and being made to go under psychiatric evaluation, Voast is seeking compensation from the city and damages from several officers for violating her lawful rights.