Saying he was "sick of people thinking they can say anything about a police officer," an Arlington policeman yesterday sued a Fairfax City woman who accused the officer of stealing $1,000 from her during her arrest on traffic charge.
The suit, filed in Arlington County Circuit Court by Officer Edward A. Anstine of Arlington, asks $2 million in damages from Shirley Jean McIntosh on grounds that McIntosh "maliciously and falsely injured" Anstine's reputation.
Informed of the lawsuit by a reporter, McIntosh, who is editor and publisher of The Market Place, a weekly Fairfax County newsletter, refused to comment.
Newly appointed Police Chief William K. (Smokey) Stover gave permission to Anstine to file the suit, which police and court officers said was apparently the first of its kind in Arlington.
"I strongly support this suit," Stover said yesterday. "We're not going to tolerate people making idle charges against members of this police department."
A seven-year veteran of the Arling police force, Anstine said he stopped McIntosh shortly before 2 a.m. Sept. 30 as she was driving eastbound on Rte. 50 in Arlington.
When she got out of the car she kept saying there was all this money in there but I looked and I couldn't find any," Anstine said, "I kept telling her, 'Lady, I can't see any money', but she kept insisting there was."
Anstine said he took McIntosh to the police station where she was held on $1,000 bond and charged with driving while intoxicated and refusing a breathalyzer test.
While listing the contents of the car before it was impounded, Anstine said he found $100 in cash under the floormat and several checks, which Anstine said he turned over to department authorities, to be returned to McIntosh upon her release.
Later that morning, Anstine said, when a friend came to post bond for McIntosh, filed a formal complaint against him, alleging that he had stolen $1,000 in cash she had hidden under the mat.
Police officials said yesterday they conducted an internal investigation of the charge and ruled it "unfounded."
"I've been a police officer for a long time," Anstine said, "and I'm sick of people thinking they can say and do anything they want to a police officer. We take enough all day on the job without something like this."