New York's finest pin-up sues for $10m

FROM DAVID USBORNE

in New York

Viewed through the cameras of Playboy magazine, policewoman Carol Shaya- Castro was definitely one of New York's Finest. Viewed from the desk of Police Commissioner William Bratton, she most certainly was not.

Now, as punishment for stripping for the lenses, she has been stripped of her badge.

Enjoying an instant of tabloid fame, "Nudie Cop" Shaya-Castro is now suing Mr Bratton and the city for $10m (£6.2m) for wrongful dismissal. "I didn't do nothing criminal," she pouted on the set of a talk-show programme, an environment she will surely quickly become familiar with.

The fruits of Ms Shaya-Castro's off-the-beat moonlighting are to be featured in Playboy's August issue. She posed for its photographers naked, suggestively clutching her police-issue nightstick and handcuffs, as well as partly clothed in her NYPD uniform in staged arrest scenes.

Ignoring a recommendation from a police panel that Ms Shaya-Castro should only be suspended for a month, Mr Bratton decided her actions were sufficient to warrant an out-and-out firing. "The reputation of the New York Police Department is not for sale," he declared this week. He also pointed to her record, which includes only three arrests in four years.

But Ms Shaya-Castro, 25, believes she is being treated unfairly because she is a woman. Male police officers who appeared in blue movies, she claimed, were merely suspended. As to her record: "I was a peon in the department," she said, adding that she had been assigned to non-patrolling duties, such as typing and chauffeuring officers.

Her situation may not evoke too much sympathy. To announce the lawsuit, she was forced, she said, to take a break from taping a promotional video for Bike Week in Daytona Beach, Florida. Meanwhile, offers for books, movies and advertisements - including for a French lingerie company - are streaming in.

Mr Bratton, however, may not be done with naked cops. It emerged yesterday that another of his flock - this time a male officer from Queens - has posed nude for the issue of Playgirl due out next month. But the hunky officer may have made a smart tactical move: he is also modelling free for Calvin Klein in a charity shoot for Aids research. What to do, Mr Bratton?

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