Join 3,496 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


"There was no forcible penetration but Hope felt as if she was being raped."
February 2, 2008 5:58 PM   Subscribe

Policestate Filter: Woman who is a crime victim brutally strip searched by police. Hope Steffey's cousin called 911 to report that Hope had been assaulted. When the police arrived, Hope accidentally turned over her dead sister's driver's license, which she keeps in her wallet as a memento. After being arrested, and brutally strip searched, she is made to spend six hours in a cell, naked. Warning: the video of the incident is disturbing.
posted by MythMaker (231 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite

 
Direct links to video here and here.
posted by MythMaker at 6:01 PM on February 2, 2008


.
posted by liquorice at 6:17 PM on February 2, 2008


So is the . for the dead sister? Or for the death of of any sense of justice and decency in those who work in law enforcement?

Because if it's the latter, that corpse has been stinking for many a long year now.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 6:21 PM on February 2, 2008 [2 favorites]


Whoa. Erm. Whoa.

Two reactions:

(1) There must be more going on here than I can see. There must be something going through those deputies' minds while they're doing that. There has to be some reason why they did all this.

(2) I can't think of a good one, no matter how hard I try. I don't think this is possibly warranted at all. If, in the end, the only thing they could find to charge her with was 'disorderly conduct', well... no matter what they told themselves while it was going on, they were dead wrong, and should not be in law enforcement.
posted by koeselitz at 6:24 PM on February 2, 2008 [3 favorites]


(1) There must be more going on here than I can see. There must be something going through those deputies' minds while they're doing that. There has to be some reason why they did all this.

Well, when she handed over the driver's license of a dead person, they thought she must have been some kind of criminal. Or something. They probably have a rule that says all inmates must be strip searched, and as for the six hours, that's just probably because they forgot about her, or didn't care.

I think the problem is that a lot of police seem have an attitude where they treat people like cattle, where it doesn't really matter how they feel, they just need to be processed.
posted by delmoi at 6:30 PM on February 2, 2008 [5 favorites]


The really sad thing is that this will go to trial, the sheriff's office will settle for a bajillion dollars (and maybe desk duty for some of the people involved) and there won't be any real public accountability.

In a sane world if the facts are as they appear, everyone involved would be in jail for a very, very long time.
posted by Skorgu at 6:31 PM on February 2, 2008


"This video is sponsored by Elk & Elk Injury Lawyers".
posted by Joakim Ziegler at 6:31 PM on February 2, 2008


There must be more going on here than I can see. There must be something going through those deputies' minds while they're doing that. There has to be some reason why they did all this.

I think the idea was the she was a suicide risk and consequently couldn't be left with any materials that could be used to make an improvised noose. You kind of have to read between the lines, but the "now or ever" remark from the first video combined with the sheriff's instance that no "strip search" occurred supports that conclusion.

Apparently, in the sheriff's view, while strip searches have to be done by same-sex officers, any old officer can strip a suicide risk. That's a creative reading on the sheriff's part, but so it goes.
posted by Mr. President Dr. Steve Elvis America at 6:35 PM on February 2, 2008


They probably have a rule that says all inmates must be strip searched, and as for the six hours, that's just probably because they forgot about her, or didn't care.

Isn't it great that we as a civilized society force people to be stripped and search (even CHILDREN) as part and parcel of being accused of a crime.

Peter McDermott is completely correct.
posted by Talez at 6:36 PM on February 2, 2008


I mean... holy shit!

This is truly outrageous.

Like koeselitz I'm completely at a loss as to what the hell these officers could have been thinking. The only thing I can think of is that they didn't think of her as a person but as a problem to be solved.
posted by Kattullus at 6:36 PM on February 2, 2008


Wow. This happens every day in some communities, doesn't it? Now, what is the most striking thing about the couple making this complaint?
posted by dash_slot- at 6:37 PM on February 2, 2008


Or for the death of of any sense of justice and decency in those who work in law enforcement?

Because if it's the latter, that corpse has been stinking for many a long year now.



Gosh, have authority issues much?
posted by tkolar at 6:38 PM on February 2, 2008


And it goes without saying: those officers need to be charged with abuse of office.
posted by dash_slot- at 6:39 PM on February 2, 2008


I can't see the video, but am notice that the law-enforcement authorities involved are using the extremely weak, but standard scattergun charge of disorderly conduct and resisting arrest to justify what sounds like

Suspicion is justifiably raised when those are the only charges proffered after a citizen is arrested, and subsequently injured, while in police custody.
posted by PareidoliaticBoy at 6:40 PM on February 2, 2008 [1 favorite]


Mr. President Dr. Steve Elvis America: I think the idea was the she was a suicide risk and consequently couldn't be left with any materials that could be used to make an improvised noose. You kind of have to read between the lines, but the "now or ever" remark from the first video combined with the sheriff's instance that no "strip search" occurred supports that conclusion.

Apparently, in the sheriff's view, while strip searches have to be done by same-sex officers, any old officer can strip a suicide risk. That's a creative reading on the sheriff's part, but so it goes.


Yes, that's how it seems. An insane failure of due process and of badly-written policy which is followed unthinkingly.

All of this leads ineluctably, however, to one question: what happened during questioning? What in the living hell convinced these cops that this woman (a) was a criminal and (b) was suicidal? The television reports, like most television reports, make absolutely no attempt to answer this difficult question. I don't think it can be chalked up to "cops are just brutal people," although this certainly was a seriously fucked up situation that none of those cops would've been in if they'd had even a hundredth of an ounce of perspective.
posted by koeselitz at 6:40 PM on February 2, 2008


everyone involved would be in jail for a very, very long time.

Possibly not the solution for every problem.
posted by wilful at 6:40 PM on February 2, 2008 [2 favorites]


I don't think this is possibly warranted at all.

you put yourself in the category of threat/PITA, you get this treatment.

Screaming "WHAT ARE YOU DOING! STOP IT!" at the top of your lungs is going to escalate the situation, not stop it.

Ah, at 3:40 in the video it is reported that she smart-assed the booking agents, which then apparently precipitated the force used to control her.

The reporting is a little sensational but I agree that the way we as a society allow people in detainment to be treated is quite disappointing.

If the woman in this video had hung herself with a belt, bra strap, or shoelace that night, however, the Sherriff would have been sued too.

Booking people into jail is one of our shittier jobs society has to offer so I'm certainly willing to hear the cops' side of the story here.
posted by panamax at 6:41 PM on February 2, 2008


The only thing I can think of is that they didn't think of her as a person but as a problem to be solved.

Precisely.

And it's important, if somewhat underappreciated by civilians, to understand the difference between being stripped and being strip-searched.

In the latter they don't have you disrobe just because they want to see you without clothes on.
posted by panamax at 6:43 PM on February 2, 2008


Gosh, have authority issues much?

Yes, because if anyone questions this disgusting and brutal behavior by a police officer, they have authority issues. It couldn't possibly be that they were wrong!

It is absolutely sickening that this can go on in 2008 in the United States... I am literally shaking with anger watching that. What's even more disgusting is that it's not the sheriff or any of the deputies who will have to pay for this when it goes to trial, it's the taxpayers.
posted by MegoSteve at 6:44 PM on February 2, 2008 [7 favorites]


Okay, I want to stress one thing before it gets lost. It's absolutely crucial that they Ms. Steffney had just been assaulted. How on Earth did the police start treating her like a criminal? Weren't the officers aware that she was a victim? Did the officer who brought her in not tell anyone?
posted by Kattullus at 6:46 PM on February 2, 2008 [3 favorites]


Gosh, have authority issues much?
Yes, because if anyone questions this disgusting and brutal behavior by a police officer, they have authority issues. It couldn't possibly be that they were wrong!


Nice quote out of context there, try again.
Or for the death of of any sense of justice and decency in those who work in law enforcement? Because if it's the latter, that corpse has been stinking for many a long year now.
Gosh, have authority issues much?

posted by tkolar at 6:48 PM on February 2, 2008


What in the living hell convinced these cops that this woman (a) was a criminal and (b) was suicidal?

She wasn't taken into custody walking down the street. She had been in a fight, which means she was already unstable that day.

Handing cops FALSE ID is NOT the way to avoid a ride downtown for the cops to establish who you really are.

Who the hell carries somebody else's ID around, and how often to cops get handed false ID from people not trying to hide their true identity from the authorities?

In the video it is reported that she answered the screening question a bit . . . incorrectly.

While I wouldn't assume she was similarly misbehaved during the booking process, it wouldn't surprise me one bit.
posted by panamax at 6:48 PM on February 2, 2008


How on Earth did the police start treating her like a criminal? Weren't the officers aware that she was a victim?

Because, generally speaking, criminals or suspected criminals are the ones who are taken downtown to be held in custody.

The real question is why she was taken to be held in the jail in the first place. I suspect the false ID thing is the pivotal incident here.
posted by panamax at 6:50 PM on February 2, 2008


All of this leads ineluctably, however, to one question: what happened during questioning? What in the living hell convinced these cops that this woman (a) was a criminal and (b) was suicidal? The television reports, like most television reports, make absolutely no attempt to answer this difficult question.

I think she was probably intoxicated when the cops showed up (that's how it always happens). The cops show up, and everyone is screaming at everyone else. They separate people, and collect licenses.

She gives them the driver license of a dead woman, they run it, and see that it belongs to a dead woman. They ask her for a real license. She demands her dead sister's license back. They say no (probably technically correctly), and she gets agitated.

Now she's a criminal, from the cop's perspective, so they cuff her and drag her back to the station. She forgets that she's supposed to act subservient around the police, and they get pissed off. To teach her a lesson, they flag her as a suicide risk, strip her, and leave her to think about who's boss.
posted by Mr. President Dr. Steve Elvis America at 6:51 PM on February 2, 2008 [4 favorites]


Wow. I can't believe how much you guys are throwing a fit over this. The LEOs knew two things:

1) She was trying to get someone arrested and prosecuted for a violent offense for which he would probably end up imprisoned and beat/raped.

2) She was lying to them.

And you think that they're wrong for what they did?! What the effin eff?!
posted by jock@law at 6:52 PM on February 2, 2008


jock@law: And you think that they're wrong for what they did?! What the effin eff?!

Please share with us this extraordinary window you have into this case, and the remarkable policy which states that those who lie to police are to be forcibly stripped naked and left naked in a cell.
posted by koeselitz at 6:55 PM on February 2, 2008 [1 favorite]


So is the . for the dead sister? Or for the death of of any sense of justice and decency in those who work in law enforcement?

The . is for Hope and what sne had to endure that night.

Who the hell carries somebody else's ID around,

Somebody who loses their sister and wants to keep a memento of her in their wallet? Is this a rhetorical question?
posted by liquorice at 6:56 PM on February 2, 2008 [4 favorites]


Mr. President Dr. Steve Elvis America: I think she was probably intoxicated when the cops showed up (that's how it always happens).

Or in shock, or agitated from being attacked. It's usually difficult to tell the difference between 'agitated' and 'chemically altered,' especially when someone is very much in shock.
posted by koeselitz at 6:56 PM on February 2, 2008 [1 favorite]


And you think that they're wrong for what they did?! What the effin eff?!

You know, it's quite possible that everyone was in the wrong, but she was already tried and convicted, so we don't really have to worry about her, do we?

I think she probably should've been arrested. Stripped by a bunch of male cops and left naked in an empty cell for 6 hours? Not so much, and I think the decision to do that was made less on the basis of her safety and more with an eye to punishing her for being a jackass.

I think she probably was being a jackass, but the cops have to stay professional around jackasses.
posted by Mr. President Dr. Steve Elvis America at 6:57 PM on February 2, 2008 [3 favorites]



koeselitz wrote...
All of this leads ineluctably, however, to one question: what happened during questioning? What in the living hell convinced these cops that this woman (a) was a criminal and (b) was suicidal?

Kattullus wrote...
How on Earth did the police start treating her like a criminal? Weren't the officers aware that she was a victim? Did the officer who brought her in not tell anyone?

Yeah, this is a frustrating post all around. The "news" piece on it doesn't even pretend to present the whole story. In fact, it's rather laughably obvious that they're trying to spin it as hard as they can as Bad and Disturbing.

If the woman had spent the time in the patrol car threatening to kill herself, then video of her being stripped doesn't seem particularly out of place. In fact it seems sort of "psychotic person threatens to kill herself, is deprived of the means to do so".
posted by tkolar at 6:58 PM on February 2, 2008 [1 favorite]


She forgets that she's supposed to act subservient around the police, and they get pissed off

I disagree with this opinion. I think "business-like" is the correct way to interact with the police. Understand what their job is in this situation, and help them perform it.

and the remarkable policy which states that those who lie to police are to be forcibly stripped naked and left naked in a cell

We don't have the video of the booking, or understanding of WHY she was being booked in the first place.

It's not about lying to the police, it's about police standard operating procedures. The woman here put herself in a class of civilians you don't want to be in when dealing with the police.

It's unfortunate, but understandable given the quality of civilian the police have to deal with on a day-in day-out basis.
posted by panamax at 6:59 PM on February 2, 2008


Policestate Filter?

Please.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 7:03 PM on February 2, 2008 [1 favorite]


Somebody who loses their sister and wants to keep a memento of her in their wallet?

She should have chosen another form of memento to hand to the cop as her ID, obviously.

From the cop's perspective, people giving them false ID is a fucking RED FLAG and is, I would expect, a very lucrative way to find people wanted for crimes. To figure out who she really is would probably mean a ride downtown to get fingerprinted.
posted by panamax at 7:04 PM on February 2, 2008


A less breathless presentation of the allegations here.
posted by tkolar at 7:05 PM on February 2, 2008


Okay, now that I've calmed down a bit I suppose it's a bit too late for me to point out that we have very little to go on. We don't know the whole story so all our speculation is for naught. I can't imagine that there's anything that can justify what we saw but arguing about what might potentially have been the whole story seems rather pointless.

...and yes, I'm new to the internet.
posted by Kattullus at 7:05 PM on February 2, 2008


Yet another example of the cops acting like fucktards. It happens every day, in many places, but situations like this bubble it up to public view. This Sheriff, he is elected?
posted by UseyurBrain at 7:06 PM on February 2, 2008


Okay, now that I've calmed down a bit I suppose it's a bit too late for me to point out that we have very little to go on.

Of course, and that's why I love these posts. They're like rorschach tests.
posted by Mr. President Dr. Steve Elvis America at 7:09 PM on February 2, 2008 [5 favorites]


Ah, tkolar's news report clarifies the situation a bit.

Gurlea the, documents allege, warned Steffey to calm down and Steffey replied she was upset and could exercise her freedom of speech

hookay.
posted by panamax at 7:10 PM on February 2, 2008


Gosh, have authority issues much?

Goodness, I hope you're not a cop or anything because if you were this would sound absurdly defensive.
posted by birdie birdington at 7:14 PM on February 2, 2008 [1 favorite]


No taserings? Are we sure these are actual cops?
posted by norabarnacl3 at 7:14 PM on February 2, 2008 [10 favorites]


Every suicidal inmate I've ever seen in jail has been stripped and put in what we convicts call a "caveman suit", which is designed to be untearable (and therefore unusable as a potential method of hanging). It is held together with velcro and substitutes for bedding as well, obviating the need for a sheet. That she was not similarly treated makes me think they were "teaching her a lesson" which is not only outside the purview of corrections officers but also cruel and humiliating. I hope she sues, I hope she wins, I hope they're all fired.

If you don't want to get yelled at and spit on by angry drunks, or you can't handle it like a professional, don't be a fucking cop.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 7:24 PM on February 2, 2008 [34 favorites]


Threads like this always make me think of this.
posted by Dasein at 7:27 PM on February 2, 2008


A less breathless presentation of the allegations here.

That actually makes the cops sound even worse:
Gurlea allegedly turned angrily and responded “shut up about your dead sister.”

Steffey pointed her finger at her sister’s license in the deputy’s pocket and said, “she was here, she was someone” and Gurlea allegedly, suddenly exploded into a rage and allegedly slammed her face into his cruiser breaking a tooth, and pinning her against the cruiser, allegedly saying, “are you going to stop?”
It's essentially a summary of the victim's case.

Anyway, these threads always bring out the people who defend cops no matter what happens. It's pretty tired.
posted by delmoi at 7:32 PM on February 2, 2008 [4 favorites]


The cops who did this should get on their knees tonight and thank God that the guy whose wife was treated like this just decided to out them on the news and Internet.

I'd consider one gun and seven bullets more appropriate.
posted by localroger at 7:36 PM on February 2, 2008 [4 favorites]


Gosh, have authority issues much?
Goodness, I hope you're not a cop or anything because if you were this would sound absurdly defensive.


Nope, not a cop here.

But please do feel free to connect the dots for me between "These particular cops appear to have really screwed the pooch" to "The 660,000 law enforcement officers in the U.S. have no sense of justice and decency."
posted by tkolar at 7:45 PM on February 2, 2008


delmoi wrote...
Anyway, these threads always bring out the people who defend cops attack all cops everywhere no matter what happens. It's pretty tired.

Fixed that for you.
posted by tkolar at 7:47 PM on February 2, 2008 [3 favorites]


jock@law: You haven't seen the OutrageFilter over at Digg and Reddit about this issue yet, have you?

This thread is pretty mild in comparison.
posted by drstein at 7:51 PM on February 2, 2008


the kalamazoo police department had been known to declare that people who didn't cooperate in the booking process were "suicidal" and would be left in cells with flimsy paper robes to freeze the night away - if they didn't "run out"

of course it was to "teach them a lesson" - and "they" were generally black

after a few lawsuits were filed and the local paper started running the story, their proceedures changed

just like any other organization, police departments have a corporate culture - in some, this kind of behavior would be unacceptable - in others, you have officers who are too eager to "teach them a lesson"

the only other comment i have is that it's really not legal to carry a dead person's drivers license on you and present it to a cop when asked for your i d - in fact, one time i had an old driver's license with me and the cop demanded it, saying it wasn't legal for me to have more than one - even though it had a cut corner and was plainly expired - he kept that one

i'm enough of a cynic to wonder if "a memento" was the only thing she was using it for
posted by pyramid termite at 7:53 PM on February 2, 2008 [2 favorites]


I'd consider one gun and seven bullets more appropriate.

so much for the myth that putting on a uniform is the sole precursor to abusing power
posted by pyramid termite at 7:54 PM on February 2, 2008


Dr. Steve America something: I think she was probably intoxicated when the cops showed up (that's how it always happens)

I just want to make sure that everyone reads the secondary article that tkolar provided. This entire situation is a horror story that I wouldn't wish on my worst enemies.

Steffey pointed her finger at her sister’s license in the deputy’s pocket and said, “she was here, she was someone” and Gurlea allegedly, suddenly exploded into a rage and allegedly slammed her face into his cruiser breaking a tooth, and pinning her against the cruiser, allegedly saying, “are you going to stop?”
The documents allege Gurlea then threw her to the ground causing cuts and bruises and with the weight of his body on her she could not breathe.


This is absolutely horrific and I'll tell you what Dr. Steve - if this happened to your wife what the hell would you do? Would you seriously stand by and say, "Welp, she was probably drunk so that's what she gets." - Seriously?
posted by Baby_Balrog at 7:55 PM on February 2, 2008 [4 favorites]


Steffey pointed her finger at her sister’s license in the deputy’s pocket and said, “she was here, she was someone” and Gurlea allegedly, suddenly exploded into a rage and allegedly slammed her face into his cruiser breaking a tooth, and pinning her against the cruiser, allegedly saying, “are you going to stop?”

Right here is where these officers crossed the line from reasonable use of authority to abuse of power.
posted by ook at 7:56 PM on February 2, 2008


it's like no one knows what the word "allegedly" means
posted by pyramid termite at 7:57 PM on February 2, 2008 [2 favorites]


It's essentially a summary of the victim's case.

If she touched him with that finger, then yes.

Anyway, these threads always bring out the people who defend cops no matter what happens. It's pretty tired.

WTF, delmoi? Let's stick to the arguments and stop slamming people here.

tkolar, that goes for you, too. ;)

I'm just trying to present my understanding, eg. cops generally have a thankless, shit job day in day out, they see hundreds of crazies being carted to jail every year, this particular person certainly raised enough flags for the cops to put her in the PITA/hazard category.

I will admit, however, that I have yet to have a "bad experience" with law enforcement. If & when that is no longer true then I suppose there will be a lot less slack / "withholding judgment until all the facts are out" from me.
posted by panamax at 7:57 PM on February 2, 2008


This is absolutely horrific and I'll tell you what Dr. Steve

you missed the part about "First Amendment and I'll say what I want!" from the poor innocent victim while dealing with the Officer.

I'm not necessarily defending what happened to her that night but the situation could be a lot more GRAY than the OMFG!1! people here understand.
posted by panamax at 7:59 PM on February 2, 2008


delmoi wrote...
A less breathless presentation of the allegations here.
That actually makes the cops sound even worse:


Yup, the allegations are pretty serious stuff.

This article mentions that the defense has filed the standard "please dismiss this immediately" motion and that the hearing is set for May.

Of course, due to the lessons that the media and internet bloggers learned during the Duke Lacrosse Players debacle, everone is waiting patiently for the outcome of the inquest and not rushing to judge one way or another without having enough information in hand.
posted by tkolar at 8:02 PM on February 2, 2008


Consider if this was your wife or daughter. What would you do? I'm glad they exposed the videos. This is truly sick.
posted by dingobully at 8:02 PM on February 2, 2008


panamax: you missed the part about "First Amendment and I'll say what I want!" from the poor innocent victim

Well, what does that mean to you? When dealing with a police officer, are your constitutional rights somehow nullified? No, I get it - "Har har only hippies cite the consititution when the cops are assaulting them."
posted by Baby_Balrog at 8:06 PM on February 2, 2008 [5 favorites]


Consider if this was your wife or daughter

The news report framed the story this way by leading with the end result and not true process of events. Excellent sensationalism, shitty journalism.

Without understanding the true events in question, eg. the woman decided she had a First Amendment right to say anything she wanted to the cop to whom she handed a false ID from her wallet, and that she decided a little attitude -- added to her answer to the screening question of whether she was violent or suicidal -- was a good idea during her booking.

I'm not defending the cops here, just trying to repeat my philosophy of "not judging people until you walk a mile in their jackboots".
posted by panamax at 8:07 PM on February 2, 2008


tkolar: Of course, due to the lessons that the media and internet bloggers learned during the Duke Lacrosse Players debacle

Yeah, because in that case we had a video. Do you have some kind of cop fetish?
posted by Baby_Balrog at 8:08 PM on February 2, 2008


"I'm not defending the cops here"

No, that's exactly what you're doing.
posted by Baby_Balrog at 8:09 PM on February 2, 2008


so much for the myth that putting on a uniform is the sole precursor to abusing power

Well, FWIW, localroger thinks that it's assault when someone makes fun of you in Second Life, so my instinct is that he's long been barred from owning weapons.
posted by ten pounds of inedita at 8:12 PM on February 2, 2008 [1 favorite]


BB: it is evidence that she was unhinged when dealing with the cop. For all I know the cop was the usual fascist fuck and indeed out of line in arresting her.

But I do know the situation is not at all similar to the tasing video of Utah, something which I feel the evidence of police malfeasance being crystal clear.

Here, the cop was called into this situation, got handed a fake ID by the woman, and in the reports we have the woman is certainly showing attitude when dealing with the cops.

The evidence in this case is not "crystal clear" yet. The actual cell-room video of people getting the fascist end of the system is something that happens every night in this country.
posted by panamax at 8:12 PM on February 2, 2008


you missed the part about "First Amendment and I'll say what I want!" from the poor innocent victim while dealing with the Officer.

I didn't miss it, I didn't care. I fail to see how mouthing off to a cop could be worth being arrested, strip searched, etc.

Of course, due to the lessons that the media and internet bloggers learned during the Duke Lacrosse Players debacle

Well, that is an entirely different class of problem because it involved two groups of normal citizens. If a normal person tased another for mouthing off, they'd go to jail. If a normal person kidnapped and stripsearched a person for mouthing off, they'd go to jail. The only reason these cases are not considered obvious horrible crimes is because they involve police officers.

Police brutality is just a totally separate issue.
posted by delmoi at 8:14 PM on February 2, 2008 [4 favorites]


This is absolutely horrific and I'll tell you what Dr. Steve - if this happened to your wife what the hell would you do? Would you seriously stand by and say, "Welp, she was probably drunk so that's what she gets." - Seriously?

The narrative you quoted is apparently taken from the plaintiff's complaint in a civil suit. Complaints aren't necessarily a reliable source of facts, I hope you realize.

It's unclear to me why you appear so certain that the allegations are entirely true. In my experience, people rarely tell the complete truth, particularly when it strongly serves their interest to tell the story in a way that puts them in a good light.
posted by Mr. President Dr. Steve Elvis America at 8:14 PM on February 2, 2008


The evidence in this case is not "crystal clear" yet. The actual cell-room video of people getting the fascist end of the system is something that happens every night in this country.

But it's unusual when it happens to a victim of a crime.
posted by delmoi at 8:15 PM on February 2, 2008 [3 favorites]


No, that's exactly what you're doing.

I don't have enough information to know.

There's a whole helluva lot of misinformation present with this story, like the allegation that the woman was "Strip-searched" in the video.

From first appearances it seems to me that the responding cop acted out of line, but we don't have full video or depositions of that confrontation yet, but I do know that insisting you have a First Amendment right to mouth off to a cop trying to get through his shift is not terribly conducive to not ending up in the back of the car in handcuffs.

It's really a matter of Standard Operating Procedures here. If we didn't live in such a shitty society with millions of criminals and entire disenfranchised, quasi-Apartheid communities with immense law-and-order challenges, I'd have a different opinion of the cop's action.

I guess here it'd be a good idea to note that my thinking generally operates on Bayesian Inference principles, that I can hold two or more contrary possibilities in my head and continually reevaluate their truth probabilities as more information becomes known.
posted by panamax at 8:19 PM on February 2, 2008


The only reason these cases are not considered obvious horrible crimes is because they involve police officers

Police officers who have to deal with this shit every day, yes. If this were a black crack-head in Atlanta you think News Channel 4 would be running this story?

But it's unusual when it happens to a victim of a crime.

I am curious as to how she went from victim to detainee in the back of the cruiser, yes. That's the critical bit.

What happened to her during the booking is not surprising, given the answer she allegedly gave about being violent or suicidal.
posted by panamax at 8:23 PM on February 2, 2008


It's like no one knows what the word "allegedly" means

Repeated for emphasis.
posted by Bookhouse at 8:27 PM on February 2, 2008


What the hell are you yammering on about?
posted by Burhanistan at 8:31 PM on February 2, 2008


Labor day weekend, some friends of mine threw a rave on an island in the susquhannah river. Someone from town drowned trying to swim to the party after the boats had stopped running. The cops arrested everyone at the party for reckless endangerment and for gathering without a permit and fined them $1500 each - cash. On Labor Day weekend. If they couldn't pay, they were thrown in county jail and stripped searched. Most of them couldn't pay.

The Harrisburg police department is now facing a multi-million dollar class action law suit. Apparently it didn't occur to them that it was a bad idea to violate the constitutional rights of several dozen rich white kids from DC whose parents could afford high-priced lawyers.

The thing is, this happens to black people all the time and no one gives a fuck. Nothing ever changes till until it happens to white people.
posted by empath at 8:34 PM on February 2, 2008 [13 favorites]


Yeah, because in that case we had a video.

As I said before, the video by itself doesn't do shit for me. I saw a woman being taken down and stripped -- not surreptiously mind you, not in a hidden corner away from view, but on a video camera that was there specifically to document that the correct procedures were being followed.

There are some very good reasons you might want to strip a prisoner. There are some really bad reasons you might want to strip a prisoner. The video doesn't tell me anything about which were in play.

Do you have some kind of cop fetish?

I have a justice fetish.

And frankly, leaking this footage in an exclusive to a news station in exchange for a fluff piece sits on the wrong side of that. There's plenty of time to release this video after a jury trial has been conducted. As it is, releasing it now (this event happened in 2006, mind you) appears to be an attempt to taint the jury pool and/or blackmail an out-of-court settlement.

What boggles me is that no matter how many times the scenario plays out -- spectacular accusations, sensational media stories, tiny followup revealing much less salacious reality six months later -- it remains an effective tool at riling up the populace. The Duke case was actually an exception in that a small minority of the Hang'em'now bandwagon was eventually forced to own up to their mistakes. Normally everyone is just on to the next thing.

If any of you media studies majors out there need a hobby and or thesis idea, I would love to see a history of sensational public accusations along with their eventual outcome.

In the meantime, I'll be waiting for the court hearings before passing judgment on anyone.
posted by tkolar at 8:36 PM on February 2, 2008 [2 favorites]


The thing is, this happens to black people all the time and no one gives a fuck. Nothing ever changes till until it happens to white people.

funny, the kalamazoo police department was stripping black people and got caught and there was a big stink about it, and yes it changed

i even mentioned that upthread

but don't let the facts get in the way of your beliefs
posted by pyramid termite at 8:41 PM on February 2, 2008


Now, what is the most striking thing about the couple making this complaint?

/me raises hand

I know I know!!! They're WHITE!

Do I get my gold star now?
posted by desjardins at 8:45 PM on February 2, 2008


Even if - even if - a strip search or any kind of removal of clothing was justified, where does it say male officers should be "assisting" in it?

In what way was this woman resisting arrest?

Are people allegedly at risk of suicide normally left alone, naked in a cold cell and unmonitored, for six hours? Wouldn't a doctor be called? Why wasn't she permitted a phone call?

Sounds like the Police sending out a smokescreen to justify their own actions, to me.
posted by kaemaril at 8:47 PM on February 2, 2008 [1 favorite]


It's pretty clear as has been mentioned that once the switch got thrown in the machine-minds of the cops here that they just did their routine until completion with no real sense of the human emotions being experienced by the victim. At no time was there a need to perform the search in this manner as there were many options for them to simply back off and observe. Sorry to besmirch people in uniform, but video after video that I've seen of non-events escalating into scary violence like this (tasings, 5 cops jumping women, etc) happen because the cops in question make some kind of absolute decision to carry out a procedure no matter what. There's no real easy way to remedy this, and all this pissing about here is pointless.
posted by Burhanistan at 8:53 PM on February 2, 2008 [1 favorite]


Even if there were a good justification for arresting her and stripping her in a room with both male and female officers (and that's hard enough to imagine) what in the world is the justification for leaving an injured woman completely naked in a jail cell for six hours? I don't care what she did, that's not right.
posted by Pater Aletheias at 8:53 PM on February 2, 2008


Her sister's license.... reminded me that after my own mother died, I carried her license in my wallet for several years. She was 83, obviously a woman, and weighed about 105 lbs.... I was 45, male, bald, and 310 lbs.
Wonder what response I would have gotten in a similar situation if I'd handed the nice ossifer mom's license?
posted by drhydro at 8:54 PM on February 2, 2008


In what way was this woman resisting arrest?

we'll find out in the trial, no doubt, but as I said above screaming at the top of your lungs while in custody is NOT going to improve the treatment you are being subject to.

Are people allegedly at risk of suicide normally left alone, naked in a cold cell and unmonitored, for six hours? Wouldn't a doctor be called? Why wasn't she permitted a phone call?

Don't see why not. Throwing disorderly people in jail is an American tradition that dates to the founding.
posted by panamax at 9:01 PM on February 2, 2008


That crappy story felt like an advertisement for a personal injury law firm.
posted by Stonestock Relentless at 9:03 PM on February 2, 2008


This seems to be happening a lot lately and what the fuck is up with skinhead cops??? with creepy as fuck rubber gloves.
posted by hortense at 9:08 PM on February 2, 2008


we'll find out in the trial, no doubt, but as I said above screaming at the top of your lungs while in custody is NOT going to improve the treatment you are being subject to.

Hmm. Let me repeat the question, 'cos I don't see where you answered it.

In what way was this woman resisting arrest? Unless cops are really really protective of their eardrums, I don't see where screaming (while already in custody) is "resisting" arrest ...

"Sarge, sarge! Get her to stop, my ears are beginning to bleed!"
"My god, that's so evil it might work! She's hoping if she screams loudly enough we'll all run away in horror, so she can escape. Clearly, she's resisting arrest!"

Don't see why not. Throwing disorderly people in jail is an American tradition that dates to the founding.
No, see, that was a rhetorical question on my part. The correct answer to "Are people allegedly at risk of suicide normally left alone, naked in a cold cell and unmonitored, for six hours?" is NO. Not if a) The department in question genuinely believes that person to be a danger to her/himself and b) They actually have two functioning brain cells to rub together.
posted by kaemaril at 9:12 PM on February 2, 2008


I have to refrain form commenting because I'd likely end up in the the great American gulag myself. However, if, like me, you couldn't view the videos linked by OP for some reason, here's the chilling report on You Tube
posted by dawson at 9:15 PM on February 2, 2008


I have a justice fetish.

And frankly, leaking this footage in an exclusive to a news station in exchange for a fluff piece sits on the wrong side of that.


Leaking the video is the injustice here? You and I clearly have different views on the nature of justice.
posted by delmoi at 9:16 PM on February 2, 2008


It took me forever to find this again:

A Bureau Of Prisons training video on the use of force to subdue and control uncooperative inmates. The actual subduing takes place at 13:30 for people who want to skip all that calm reasoning stuff.

My guess for why men were present for the stripping is that they didn't have enough female members on staff to safely subdue a woman who was pretty clearly not cooperating. Not that that makes it right, but I can see how the wrong decision was made -- particularly if all the cops were in process-the-meat-bag-and-get-on-with-life mode.
posted by tkolar at 9:18 PM on February 2, 2008


But it's unusual when it happens to a victim of a crime.

Given the amount of printed accounts we have, please point us all to where this is definitively determined.

Just because her friend says so doesn't count.

So this is where the cop finds himself. Apparently, a fight happened. But remember, this is hardly clear itself. If true, the details of the fight are unclear, too. But one of the apparent players in the scene hands him an ID that resolves to a dead person, then flips out when its confiscated.

But apparently the OMFG crowd considers this to be a normal, everyday occurrence that warrants no further inquiry on the part of the cop. And when asked, "Are you feeling suicidal?" and the answer is "Right now, or ever?", that's clearly nothing to be concerned about. Better allow that person to keep their belt and shoelaces ...

As an aside, I always find it funny that cops are derided as lazy, but will apparently tackle and forcibly strip-search a person without first, you know, asking them to strip. Or perhaps ordering them to. But nahh, never happens. They always go right for the tackle first, don't they? They probably record these events just for their own amusement, too.

Oh wait, you mean you didn't realize that the tape was made by the cops themselves, who then released it to the defense as part of the discovery process of the suit? You'd think these evil cops would destroy that tape before anyone saw it. And it was the plaintiff that provided the tape to the media. Might there be ... other portions of the tape we haven't seen? Portions that show something else happening? Nahh, we all better just freak out...
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 9:19 PM on February 2, 2008 [2 favorites]


Leaking the video is the injustice here? You and I clearly have different views on the nature of justice.

If the allegations are true, this woman was subject to a tremendous miscarriage of justice. That doesn't give her carte blanche to turn around try to subvert the justice system in turn.

Two wrongs don't make a right.
posted by tkolar at 9:23 PM on February 2, 2008


Bah. A quick scan of the thread yields predictable results...doesn't anybody else ever comment on MiscarriageofJusticeFilter? Anyway, as a former Clevelander, I can tell you that any news story credited to "WKYC" -- particularly involving a woman getting her clothes ripped off -- particularly during ratings month -- may not be the most reliable news story. This definitely looks bad, and if it's as bad as it looks, I welcome the seven new Wal-Mart greeters depicted herein; what else is there to say, really?
posted by kittens for breakfast at 9:30 PM on February 2, 2008


Is it sweeps month already? Damn, time to get outraged about something. I'm gettin' fuckin' sick of these holidays.
posted by hojoki at 9:31 PM on February 2, 2008


A quick scan of the thread yields predictable results...doesn't anybody else ever comment on MiscarriageofJusticeFilter?

Hush. This is an Important Discussion. Peoples minds are being changed. What we say here is Relevant and will result in Real And Lasting Change in the world outside. We are not just lonely people haunting an on-line message board on a Saturday night. We are not arguing out of habit and a touch of ennui.
posted by tkolar at 9:39 PM on February 2, 2008


See, this is why we need to clearly mark these things with an "ImportantDiscussionFilter" tag. I apologize for my confusion.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 9:45 PM on February 2, 2008


Maybe someone has said this already, but a single link to a yellow-journalism local TV news video isn't really worthy of a Metafilter post, is it?

Does anybody really think these local TV news stations can be counted on to tell an unbiased story?
posted by jayder at 9:46 PM on February 2, 2008


I don't particularly wish to jump into the fray regarding the specifics of this case, as I'm not familiar with them, but I'd just like to say this:

I've seen many altercations on the streets here in Tokyo involving police and unruly suspects here in Japan over the last 13 years. Really quite a lot of them. And they generally (though not always) involve someone who's had too much to drink. The cops here tend to be far more lenient (at least on the street and in the heat of the moment) toward folks who get frisky and/or smartassed with them. In the US, any show of anger or irritation, no matter how mild, seems to be instant justification for US police to immediately escalate the situation by grabbing, subduing, cuffing, wrestling to the ground, etc. of the suspect. Same goes for suspects who just say something a little smart. Anything less than total unquestioning submission and acquiescence will almost certainly result in severe and unnecessarily violent responses from police. I think cops in the US overreact all the time.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 10:01 PM on February 2, 2008 [5 favorites]


Whatever she did or didn't do, this is not how people are treated.

This is not how anyone should ever be treated, particularly not by an authority figure who is, in fact, charged with keeping the public safe and unviolated.

Even Especially from them.
posted by batmonkey at 10:01 PM on February 2, 2008


Whatever she did or didn't do, this is not how people are treated.

Would that it were true.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 10:04 PM on February 2, 2008


people rarely tell the complete truth, particularly when it strongly serves their interest to tell the story in a way that puts them in a good light

Cops are people too.

Who the hell carries somebody else's ID around

My mom carries my late grandfather's birth certificate in her wallet, I carry his driver's license.
posted by zarah at 10:12 PM on February 2, 2008


This is not how anyone should ever be treated,

In an ideal world, no. In this world, I'm glad enough that police takedown teams exist even with the potential for misuse.

Speaking of which, I am absolutely amazed that tasers weren't involved in this story at some point.
posted by tkolar at 10:12 PM on February 2, 2008


Whatever she did or didn't do, this is not how people are treated.

This is not how anyone should ever be treated, particularly not by an authority figure who is, in fact, charged with keeping the public safe and unviolated.


The problem is that we have no idea what she did or didn't do, and there are some legitimate causes for someone to get stripsearched. The stuff about her injuries and wrapping herself in toilet paper for warmth is all horrible, but it's also all unsubstantiated. I'm not saying this isn't a story -- there's a federal lawsuit, which I would say does make it news -- but the news is that the cops are getting sued, not that the cops did something wrong. They may have. We don't know, and I don't think we even have enough evidence either way to speculate. This is a sensationalist piece that exists to pander to people who want to watch cops hold a woman down and rip her clothes off, not a plea to the humanitarians amongst us.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 10:28 PM on February 2, 2008 [1 favorite]


(...That said, I don't know WHAT the fuck a couple of dudes are doing there, and I expect they're the ones most likely to become mall security guards or whatever happens to cops who fuck up too bad to even be cops anymore.)
posted by kittens for breakfast at 10:32 PM on February 2, 2008


I think cops in the US overreact all the time.

flapjax, you are of course right. I never had to deal with the Polizei in my 7+ years in Tokyo in any sort of "suspect" position, but I was always impressed with their professionalism.

I even had a visit from the cop at my door on their annual neighborhood canvassing thing, and that was a pleasant opportunity to practice some Japanese.

Maybe I've watched too much C.O.P.S, but it's my impression that we've got a much larger "dregs of society" -- the hooliganism, professional criminals, crack/meth/heroin abusing populations, the outright failed subeconomies -- issue here that tends to turn our police into fascist freaks.

Japan, with their 99.7% conviction rate, tend to not play around about separating the anti-social troublemakers from the civilians.
posted by panamax at 10:39 PM on February 2, 2008


Who the hell carries somebody else's ID around...?

Like the woman in this story (and like drhydro), I have done this, for the same reason. Also, from time to time, I have briefly carried the ID of companions who were pocketless.

Perhaps I will now reconsider both practices.
posted by rokusan at 10:43 PM on February 2, 2008


In what way was this woman resisting arrest? Unless cops are really really protective of their eardrums, I don't see where screaming (while already in custody) is "resisting" arrest ...

I assume when you're being processed for overnight detention you've already been arrested.

The resisting part I assume happened with the office at her house.

"Resisting Arrest" is often a BS charge, but when there's 7 of them and 1 of you, yelling and squirming like a crazy person is not going to improve your treatment.

Clearly in my perfect society arrestees on suicide watch would be provided suitable clothing and not just unceremoniously stripped and left naked in their cell, so part of me is satisfied that the police's bullshit procedures here are being exposed.
posted by panamax at 10:46 PM on February 2, 2008


panamax: Japan, with their 99.7% conviction rate, tend to not play around about separating the anti-social troublemakers from the civilians.

Here's a paper on the Japanese conviction rate. [pdf] Abstract:
Conviction rates in Japan exceed 99 percent -- why? On the one hand, because Japanese prosecutors are badly understaffed they may prosecute only their strongest cases and present judges only with the most obviously guilty defendants. On the other, because Japanese judges can be reassigned by the administrative office of the courts if they rule in ways the office does not like, judges may face biased career incentives to convict. Using data on the careers and opinions of 321 Japanese judges, we conclude that judges who acquit do indeed have worse careers following the acquittal. On closer examination, though, we find that the punished judges are not judges who acquitted on the ground that the prosecutors charged the wrong person. Rather, they are the judges who acquitted for reasons of statutory or constitutional interpretation, often in politically charged cases. Thus, the apparent punishment of acquitting judges seems unrelated to any pro-conviction bias at the judicial administrative offices, and the high conviction rates probably reflect low prosecutorial budgets instead.
posted by Kattullus at 10:50 PM on February 2, 2008 [3 favorites]


Perhaps I will now reconsider both practices.

To carry ID around such that it is comingled with your own, and then hand it to somebody as ID is highly suspicious and I assume escalated the situation for the officer, since an important part of policework these days is finding out who has records and warrants etc. while you have them.
posted by panamax at 10:50 PM on February 2, 2008


My mom carries my late grandfather's birth certificate in her wallet, I carry his driver's license.

Interesting, but not much potential for suspicion WRT false identity. Carrying your [dead] sister's, however . . .
posted by panamax at 10:52 PM on February 2, 2008


The correct answer to "Are people allegedly at risk of suicide normally left alone, naked in a cold cell and unmonitored, for six hours?" is NO

It's easier to just give them paper clothes and lock them in a safe room.

I'm sure in Canada or other more civilized place detainees are treated better, but remember, this is the nation, and people, that gave the world Abu Ghraib.
posted by panamax at 10:54 PM on February 2, 2008 [2 favorites]


BBC story about the use of forced confessions by Japanese police officers.
posted by Kattullus at 11:01 PM on February 2, 2008


^ like I said, Japan, with their 99.7% conviction rate, tend to not play around about separating the anti-social troublemakers from the civilians.

Our system, on the other hand, is something of a joke.

The issues involved go far far beyond mistreatment of hysteric soccer moms.
posted by panamax at 11:11 PM on February 2, 2008


As an aside, I always find it funny that cops are derided as lazy, but will apparently tackle and forcibly strip-search a person without first, you know, asking them to strip. Or perhaps ordering them to. But nahh, never happens. They always go right for the tackle first, don't they? They probably record these events just for their own amusement, too.

Oh wait, you mean you didn't realize that the tape was made by the cops themselves, who then released it to the defense as part of the discovery process of the suit? You'd think these evil cops would destroy that tape before anyone saw it. And it was the plaintiff that provided the tape to the media. Might there be ... other portions of the tape we haven't seen? Portions that show something else happening? Nahh, we all better just freak out...


Apparently, they were too lazy to bother to do any basic investigation into her identity beyond asking her for ID, seeing as though there was a witness there that could verify who she was and verify that the dead sister's ID was presented to the officer as a mistake.

Instead, it's much easier to haul her in and assume she's guilty before proven so, and then trump up some suicidal tendencies as an excuse to humiliate and punish her for not being sufficiently subservient.

I'm just curious what portion of the tape would excuse two burly male cops being present while her bra and panties are being forcibly removed? Why would that be acceptable under any circumstance? Someone please explain that one to me.
posted by MegoSteve at 11:21 PM on February 2, 2008 [1 favorite]


I'd just like to say that I've seen cops act really cool, even when the other person was being a so called fucktard. Having said that, regardless of the police justification, if the rules say no men during a female strip search, and you've got two men and someone videotaping the affair, then there's something flawed. Bravo to whoever leaked it, they obviously felt the same way. What's so hard about leaving her lying on the bed with her hands behind her back until she calms down, or having someone watch her for the few hours it takes to process things.
posted by furtive at 11:35 PM on February 2, 2008


if the rules say no men during a female strip search

for the nth time, what was video-taped wasn't a strip-search.

And furtive, this was video-taped for the protection of everyone, and was most likely leaked by the defense.

What's so hard about leaving her lying on the bed with her hands behind her back until she calms down, or having someone watch her for the few hours it takes to process things.

If we don't give that treatment to everyone in police custody, then we shouldn't give it to soccer moms.
posted by panamax at 11:47 PM on February 2, 2008


Instead, it's much easier to haul her in and assume she's guilty before proven so, and then trump up some suicidal tendencies as an excuse to humiliate and punish her for not being sufficiently subservient.

We don't know what happened between her giving the wrong ID to the cop and her ending up sitting in the back of the police cruiser.

Well, one report did have her informing the officer that she had a First Amendment right to mouth off at him while he was trying to do his job by controlling the situation and figuring out WTH was going on.
posted by panamax at 11:49 PM on February 2, 2008


Someone please explain that one to me.

They weren't the ones doing the removal, and her being stripped was obviously the Standard Operating Procedure, superior to leaving her to hang herself with her bra or panties or having the female officers removing her clothing getting bitten, scratched, or kicked.
posted by panamax at 11:51 PM on February 2, 2008


How can a cuffed person wearing clothes (but no belt or shoelaces) pose a threat to anyone, especially herself? I don't understand the logic of removing her clothes and leaving them off.
posted by 23skidoo at 11:52 PM on February 2, 2008 [2 favorites]


Hint to everyone: when being booked into overnight jail, when the nice officer asks if you feel suicidal, don't say: "maybe", or "sometimes", or "when?" or "what's it to you?" etc.

"Yes" or "no" generally works best.
posted by panamax at 11:55 PM on February 2, 2008


You don't think you can strangle yourself with your pants or shirt?
posted by Snyder at 11:55 PM on February 2, 2008


How can a cuffed person wearing clothes (but no belt or shoelaces) pose a threat to anyone, especially herself?

I'm sure somebody has hung him/herself with the brassiere.

Actually since she wrapped herself in toilet paper then she was uncuffed after the disrobing.

In the video it was clearly apparent that she was a potential threat to the officers doing the forced disrobing.

Further hint to everyone: do not scream at the top of your lungs when in police custody. This WILL NOT make the situation better for you.
posted by panamax at 11:58 PM on February 2, 2008


You don't think you can strangle yourself with your pants or shirt?

With my hands handcuffed behind my back, I wouldn't be able to remove any of my clothes which I could use to strangle myself.
posted by 23skidoo at 11:58 PM on February 2, 2008 [1 favorite]


I know in the MetaTalk thread I started, I indicated that I was done with this one, but this one was too good to pass up.

Apparently, they were too lazy to bother to do any basic investigation into her identity beyond asking her for ID, seeing as though there was a witness there that could verify who she was and verify that the dead sister's ID was presented to the officer as a mistake.

So, it's OK for cops to ignore an unusual situation or person if someone else is nearby to explain it? Dude, can I come live in your town?

"Hey, you look like Steve, the guy that robbed the bank yesterday!"
"No, that's not him."
"Who are you?"
"I'm his friend."
"Yeah, well I think that guy is Steve, the guy my sergeant said I should be looking for."
"No, that ain't him. That's Dave."
"Are you sure?"
"Yep. That's my buddy Dave. He didn't rob any bank."
"OK, but only if you say so."
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 11:59 PM on February 2, 2008


How can a cuffed person wearing clothes (but no belt or shoelaces) pose a threat to anyone, especially herself?

Clothed or not, you'd be surprised what cuffed people can do to themselves.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 12:02 AM on February 3, 2008


I hate to be that guy, but this is one of the reasons people call them "pigs." The police are not there to "protect and serve," they're there to enforce the law. If that steps on your toes as a upstanding citizen, it doesn't matter.
posted by sonic meat machine at 12:02 AM on February 3, 2008


I wouldn't be able to remove any of my clothes which I could use to strangle myself.

I'm sure you could if you really wanted to.

Now, I dislike arguing this since stripping people is something the Nazis did to control them (hmm, come to think of it, so did we at Abu Ghraib), but, assuming the S.O.P. is to strip apparently suicidal detainees, then that's where we are.
posted by panamax at 12:06 AM on February 3, 2008


I know in the MetaTalk thread I started, I indicated that I was done with this one...

That's what they all say!

So, it's OK for cops to ignore an unusual situation or person if someone else is nearby to explain it?

Isn't that kind of the point? Your absurd scenario notwithstanding, shouldn't the police do even the most basic investigation of a situation before they round people up, toss them in jail and have them stripped as punishment for being loud and obnoxious?

What is so unusual about that situation anyway (well, aside from what the deputy did)? There was a fight or an assault of some kind that happened prior to the officer arriving, there's a victim and a witness who made the 911 call, the victim accidentally hands them the wrong card out of her wallet, and suddenly becomes the criminal because she's mouthy and upset.
posted by MegoSteve at 12:15 AM on February 3, 2008


assuming the S.O.P. is to strip apparently suicidal detainees, then that's where we are.

If answering "Now or ever?" the question "Have you ever thought of harming yourself?" is enough to get flagged as being "apparently suicidal", then they need better questions. Ones like "Do you want to harm yourself right now?" and "Have you ever acted on your desire to harm yourself?" Admitting that you are confused about a question is not the same thing as admitting that you are currently suicidal.
posted by 23skidoo at 12:35 AM on February 3, 2008 [3 favorites]


If that were my wife, you bet your ass I'd feel horrible. There may even be justification for discipline. Among other things, the department will probably need to show that it had a procedure that was being followed.

But sweet jesus, just being the first to call the cops does not grant you immaculate "victim" status, and talking to cops when you're as agitated as she was (going by the statements of her defenders, and strictly on what happened before she was taken downtown) is just dumb. Or obviously impaired.

Sure, you've been injured and you're bloody, but the cops are going to want to find out what the other person says too. If they can't get a coherent picture, downtown to cool off is just going to happen. (Did the other person press charges? It's not clear from any of the bits I've read so far.) There is the issue of how having just been in a fight makes you look like someone predisposed to get into fights. (The SF Zoo thought the guys attacked by the tiger were mental, too. So there can be a deficiency of empathy in the approach.)

I've been on the wrong end of a cop before, and I knew when to shut the fuck up. It probably saved me from having a criminal record, yes it did. I've also seen plenty of cops taking impaired people into custody. The ones around here are pretty good at de-escalating situations, I would say. I don't know what was tried in the case at hand, or whether these cops were any good at that. They should probably try to think about how, as a department, they can be better at it. If I were on the city council there, or a citizens advisory board, I'd want a full accounting of procedures and training and some discussion of mindset. Heck, fire a couple of people if the evidence shows it.

As far as the lawsuit, the way a couple of them around here have gone, there's a quiet settlement and an NDA about six months down the road.
posted by dhartung at 12:38 AM on February 3, 2008 [1 favorite]


What is so unusual about that situation anyway ... the victim accidentally hands them the wrong card out of her wallet

Here's the thing, and we'll focus just on the initial encounter: You don't know.

* You don't know if there even was a fight.
* If yes, you don't know who started it.
* You don't know how it ended. Or even if it ended.
* You don't know who else might have been involved.
* A "witness" is present. Who is this witness? What did they witness? Is this witness involved? Is this witness the person that started the fight, ended the fight, facilitated the fight, watched the fight...?

All you have are assumptions. Any one of which could be wrong.

But the only thing you do know is you asked someone for ID and they handed you the ID of a dead person.

Wha...?

* Who exactly is this person in front of me?
* Why is she now extremely agitated?
* Who is this dead person? How did she become dead? When did she become dead?
* How did the person in front of me come to own the ID of a dead person?
* Why did the person in front of me hand me the ID of a dead person? Are they hiding something? Is the ID stolen? What is this ID being used for? WTF?
* Both the "victim" and the "witness" are saying things. They could be telling the truth. They could be lying. Or only one of them could be telling the truth...

Cops I've worked with (I was a crime reporter in a former career) had a saying called "It just don't look right." Meaning, the combination of evidence and events and observations before you adds up to ... something. And now you must investigate further.

I'd bet some serious cash that what the cop was thinking was: "Fuck, I don't know what this is, but this just don't look right..."
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 12:40 AM on February 3, 2008 [2 favorites]


Excellent sensationalism, shitty journalism.

Welcome to Northeast Ohio journalism. The only thing this story's missing is God's gift to shitty journalism, Cleveland's own Carl Monday.
posted by bitter-girl.com at 12:41 AM on February 3, 2008


Exactly. You must investigate further. That is their job... I'm sorry, but this was not all that unusual, and if an officer cannot handle the most basic investigation before teeing off on someone, then they should probably be in another field. The questions you pose are not that unsual or difficult to answer if you bother to look into them. You make it sound like it's a tremendous mystery to find out who someone's identity when a trained monkey could probably make the three phone calls to find out who that person was.

"It just doesn't look right" does not give the officer license to throw someone in jail and accuse them of being suicidal so they'd be stripped and held naked for six hours without a phone call "for their own good" without first exercising the least bit of effort to find out what the fuck is going on.

Did you watch the follow up report? There is missing tape that the police have not turned over to the Steffey's attorneys, including tape showing exactly what happened when the deputy arrested Mrs. Steffey at the scene, nor quite a bit that happened at the jail that was shot on a handheld camera.
posted by MegoSteve at 12:59 AM on February 3, 2008


Jesus Christ, panamax, a cop's job is to remain cool when dealing with fucktards, to de-escalate and defuse and keep a bad situation from getting worse. If these guys can't handle a single distraught woman better than this, they're incompetent and should be fired. And their boss needs to be demoted to somewhere he doesn't make personnel decisions. Yes, the woman doubtless provoked them in a few ways (oh no! the woman who was assaulted is all shouty and emotional! what'll we DO?!?) but that doesn't excuse their lack of professionality or basic sense.
posted by hattifattener at 1:02 AM on February 3, 2008


a cop's job is to remain cool when dealing with fucktards, to de-escalate and defuse and keep a bad situation from getting worse

the video shows them to be very cool and professional in securing this woman.

you quite literally couldn't pay me enough to take that job.

that doesn't excuse their lack of professionality or basic sense.

we don't know anything about the arresting officer, but going by her screaming in the cell I'd say they were very professional in dealing with this nutcase once they had her in handcuffs.

"First Amendment rights" . . . sheez. I don't put the police on pedestals but by the same token I understand that many of them have shitty jobs (UCPD excepted, what a cake job that is) and that they are only human.

You get assaulted/have a fight/whatever and give the police officer who responds to the call somebody else's ID out of your wallet, and you've just become a potential axe murderer on the lam -- another issue for the officer to deal with in this situation.

The arresting officer could have been an ass, as alleged by the woman's lawyers, borderline, or completely in his rights if the woman had become physical or insulting to him.

It's not about showing subservience, or respect, it's making their job easier. Over 80 officers were violently killed in the line of duty last year . . . how many people died in your line of work?
posted by panamax at 1:44 AM on February 3, 2008


it's a tremendous mystery to find out who someone's identity when a trained monkey could probably make the three phone calls to find out who that person was

Huh? Only fingerprints can do that.

Did you watch the follow up report?

Did you?

The reporter says:

"She leans on the officer . . ."

WTF? That's why she was convicted of disorderly conduct perhaps.
posted by panamax at 1:54 AM on February 3, 2008


The report is definitely sensationalist and makes no attempt at objectivity... Yet it's really, really difficult to imagine the treatment shown here in response to anything that wouldn't result in this woman being charged as a dangerous felon. Sarcasm? Invocation of rights? Emotional display? Leaning? I don't think so.

For those who are saying that she deserves this treatment for failing to stay entirely calm and rational, and that she shouldn't have screamed while her clothes were being ripped off - I'd like to remind you that there is a hefty swathe of Mefites who sometimes totally flip out and lose it in the face of a simple internet discussion (many of whom are commenting right here about how she shouldn't have acted so cwaaaazy!). I can only imagine that if they they ever end up on the wrong side of a misunderstanding with a punitive cop they'll have no problem with being dealt with in this manner. Really. Check yourself. Can you say you would never make the mistake of spouting off about your rights, or making the wrong dark-humor joke in a time of stress? Because I can see myself potentially doing that.

Finally, if this were a big, burly guy with a couple of beers in him who muttered 'fuck you' to cops pulling him over, we should feel the same way as we do about this 125-pound, caucasian, middle-class lady, because the truth is that this sort of treatment is justice on the hoof: instant trial and sentencing. Even if the defendant is found to be perfectly blameless, they've already served a far harsher de facto sentence than what they would likely to suffer if they had been found guilty of the charges... simple resisting arrest or first-offense drunk driving would have resulted in ... what? Fines? Time served? Community service? Something. But not this rather sadistic sentence. I imagine that even most people arrested for violent offenses don't necessarily get this instant justice-in-a-can punishment.
posted by taz at 2:20 AM on February 3, 2008 [11 favorites]


God, under the circumstances what the cops did to that woman was sickening. An outrage. And it seems typical for cops these days.

Police brutality seems to be on a disgusting upsurge all over America. Is this something that has come with the Bush/Republican government? It seems the Republican style is an authoritarian one, bullying, over-controlling and ultimately hateful; at core a lack of trust that people are worthy of being given the benefit of the doubt and an attempt to dominate so things *appear* nice and orderly but are basically fascist control.

* a call to 911 to get medical attention for his diabetic seizure got him Tasered by police instead.

He said he still has no answer as to why police broke down his door with their guns drawn before shooting him multiple times with a Taser as he lay in bed.


* cops last week tasered a guy who failed to pay for his salad at a Chucky Cheese kids restaurant that was filled at the time with kids and parents.

* Florida Cops Taser Suspect Chained to Hospital Bed
posted by nickyskye at 3:10 AM on February 3, 2008 [4 favorites]


Ah, MegoSteve has the money shot. We'll have to assume the oops-it's-just-"missing tape" was erased by the CIA, right?
Fuck the pigs.
posted by vivelame at 4:08 AM on February 3, 2008


That Florida Cops Taser Suspect Chained to Hospital Bed one is amazing, nickyskye, they used the tazer in place of tranquilizers. Straight-up One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest stuff whether or not the guy was a criminal.
posted by XMLicious at 6:21 AM on February 3, 2008


But the only thing you do know is you asked someone for ID and they handed you the ID of a dead person.

No, that's not the only thing you do know. You also know that she was kept in custody, naked, for six hours.

Six hours is a mighty long time. You can do all kinds of detecting in six hours.

You seem to have conveniently forgotten that small piece of the puzzle.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 6:53 AM on February 3, 2008 [3 favorites]


[got problems with the thread or other posters? take them to MetaTalk and try to keep oo flinging to a minimum here.]
posted by jessamyn at 7:24 AM on February 3, 2008


Keeping someone naked in a cell - jesus, she says she wrapped herself in toilet paper to cover up - is completely uncalled for, suicide watch or not. Anyone who ignores that part of the story is being willfully obtuse.
posted by mediareport at 7:35 AM on February 3, 2008 [1 favorite]


Easy question : where is the rest of the video ?

I'll side with her just because she was evidently the weakest in the video and because

1. I haven't see any attempt by officiers to calm her down and ask her to undress herself, which could as well be seen as callous behavior

2. I am not aware of all the potential weapons one could be hiding on self, but what warranted a complete strip-search ? A mere suspicion by an overzealous
officier , what evidence do we have she was an actual threat and not just an hypothetical one ?

3. The allegation is that she was left six hour naked in a cell without any possibility to cover herself not even if she felt cold, which strikes me as very odd.

4. Her behavior being unruly doesn't justify anything, even I would have liked to kick some arrogant and incompetent officier hiding behind they badge, but their shortcomings would justify my kicking them.

It could as well be that a procedure exists and the officiers were following it line by line, with a rational interpretation. It strikes me , tought, that the very same
officiers didn't find any way to alleviate a brutal procedure.
posted by elpapacito at 7:42 AM on February 3, 2008


Who the hell carries somebody else's ID around, and how often to cops get handed false ID from people not trying to hide their true identity from the authorities?

Here's how good cops do it: I was pulling out of a stop light behind someone making a left turn, by pulling to her right to pass. Partway through, she changed her mind about the turn, pulled straight and I tapped her bumper (we were each travelling maybe 5 mph). I got out of the car but she pulled out her cell phone aqnd frantically made a call. I waited a moment, but she refused to talk to me, I could see there was no damage so I shrugged and went on my way. She followed me. Five blocks later I attempted to talk to her again but she was still frantically talking on the phone and wouldn't talk to me. She followed me home, where, to my amazement a detective and 2 black and whites were waiting for me. Apparently she had connections to call me in as a hit and run (!) based on my plate. By this time I was quite upset. When the detective asked for my id and registration I accidentally handed him a notice regarding oil change. (Yes I really did, because I was upset and not thinking). I was shaking and scared, but he just gently asked for my story, established that I had in fact attempted to talk to her, turned to her and explained that hit and run meant I left the scene without talking to her, apologized to me, and everbody left.

From here, it doesn't sound like much, but at the time I was probably upset enought to have been smart alecky, panicked, scream and otherwise appear crazy. I think this could easily have escalated into a very bad situation (the other car clearly had some kind of connections to be able to have cops waiting at my house for god's sake), but the detective had his shit together and just totally defused it.

So whatever is going through their heads, good cops do not get into situations like this. Period. and I think screaming "what are you doing stop it" sounds like the rational reaction. What was she supposed to do, negotiate?
posted by nax at 7:51 AM on February 3, 2008 [3 favorites]


Over 80 officers were violently killed in the line of duty last year . . . how many people died in your line of work?

Oh, please. Being a police officer is not a dangerous job. It's not half as dangerous as construction, literally not one tenth as dangerous as being a fisherman, not even as dangerous as being a pizza deliveryman. It's not in the top 10 most dangerous professions in America, I'm not even sure it's in the top 20. summary article, primary source. I read but was unable to track down an article I read that claimed that more police die in car accidents than anything else -- looking at the BLS site, where car accidents are by far the largest cause of death over all professions, makes this seem pretty plausible.

If you've ever hung out with a cop, anyway, you'll know that a plurality if not most of those officers who were killed, were shot by a drunk person after a call about a domestic disturbance. I doubt even three of those 80 were killed in their own police stations.

Regarding this specific video, the only solid information we appear to have is that that someone was kept naked in a cell for six hours. This is clearly Really Wrong; anyone here willing to justify that? It's going to be hard to argue that one away...
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 8:23 AM on February 3, 2008 [7 favorites]


The righteous indignation on both sides here is hilarious if only because so much information is missing when the only available evidence is a one-sided, sensationalist, ratings-driven, sweeps month "exclusive" news story from a local TV station whose main concern seems to be advertising that they are the only station with this footage. Lacking any additional context, the only way to take a side is by actually making up the missing pieces. Reading some of the responses here reminds me of that Beginning Creative Writing exercise where you are given a scenario ("A man wakes up wearing a wedding dress, flip flops and a fedora in the fishing and tackle section of an Arkansas Wal-Mart. What Happened?) and have to fill in the missing pieces with your own creativity.

With the information we've been presented there is simply no way to know with any authority:

- What the circumstances of the original fight were that led to the 911 call and how that plays into the story

- Whether the woman in question did or did not behave in such a way at scene of the incident to justify a legitimate resisting arrest charge

- What the standard procedure is when either the purported victim or perpetrator in a police investigation hands over false identification, whether by accident or with intent (or if that even makes a difference)

- Whether or not the woman in question, once at the police station, behaved in such a way to lead the police to believe she was a legitimate suicide risk, necessitating the removal of clothing or whether or not she was stripped and forced to remain nude simply as a non-authorized punishment by rogue officers for being a pain in the neck

To try to claim definitely that one side or the other is clearly in the wrong lacking this additional information seems to me to be in bad faith.
posted by The Gooch at 8:27 AM on February 3, 2008


What I don't understand about the mindset of the people who defend this sort of behavior by the police: do you not understand that you're subject to this as well? If you say the wrong thing in the wrong tone of voice to someone in a uniform, they can throw you to the ground, rip off your clothing, and lock you naked in a room for six hours? And if you're lucky they won't elecrocute you while they're at it?

And people are okay with that, because being a police officer is a hard job?

I just don't get that. Yes, it's a hard job. That doesn't make mistreating people okay. Put yourself in her situation. Are you really sure you'd be calm and rational, and not begging them to please stop doing that to you?

If that steps on your toes as a upstanding citizen, it doesn't matter.

Yes, it very much does matter. Our civil rights are laws too, even when they're inconvenient.
posted by ook at 8:44 AM on February 3, 2008 [3 favorites]


a legitimate suicide risk, necessitating the removal of clothing

Again: stripping someone nude is not normal practice for suicide risks.
posted by mediareport at 8:54 AM on February 3, 2008 [1 favorite]


we don't know anything about the arresting officer, but going by her screaming in the cell I'd say they were very professional in dealing with this nutcase once they had her in handcuffs.

It's not nutty to scream when you are being violated. It's a totally logical reaction. I'd think something was wrong with her if she DIDN'T raise a stink when she was being unnecessarily stripped of all her clothing.

Over 80 officers were violently killed in the line of duty last year

We're not talking about them. We're talking about the ones who stripped a women of her clothes and left her naked in a cell for 6 hours.
posted by 23skidoo at 9:00 AM on February 3, 2008 [1 favorite]


He he, good for you America, freedom is over :)
posted by zouhair at 9:12 AM on February 3, 2008


I'm glad that in Canada we're having discussion about creating an independent, publically-accountable review system for RCMP misbehaviour. At least and at last we'll have some hope of dealing with this sort of police abuse.
posted by five fresh fish at 9:18 AM on February 3, 2008


You Canadians and your socialist healthcare system and your commie non-police-state... oh wait, that last one doesn't work.

I just saw Sicko recently and I loved the notion one of the interviewees put forward, following mention of political protest in France - In the U.S. people are afraid of the government, in France the government is afraid of the people. Over-simplifying for sure but it does get one pondering what functions as the opiate of the masses these days.
posted by XMLicious at 10:16 AM on February 3, 2008 [2 favorites]


If you've ever hung out with a cop, anyway, you'll know that a plurality if not most of those officers who were killed, were shot by a drunk person after a call about a domestic disturbance.

You mean like this situation might've been?
posted by Snyder at 10:45 AM on February 3, 2008 [1 favorite]


Wel, after the taserings and 'kill Natives by leaving them in back alleys on sub-forty nights' and handcuffing and strip-searching teenaged girls, it's starting to look like we Canucks need to set out cops straight. I really hope we see some substantive changes to the oversight system.
posted by five fresh fish at 10:46 AM on February 3, 2008


Over 80 officers were violently killed in the line of duty last year

Oh, boo fucking hoo. "Police officer" isn't even in the top ten of the most dangerous jobs in the US.

Plumbers get wet with poo water, nurses get puked on, cops get shot at. It's an unpleasant part of the job.

When they stop acting like a gang with badges is when my opinion of law enforcement will change.

Not that the cops I've encountered have seemed particularly concerned with my opinion of law enforcement.

OK, I told myself I wasn't going to revisit this thread, but this is my favorite dead horse and it's hard to resist beating it.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 10:48 AM on February 3, 2008 [4 favorites]


You seem to have conveniently forgotten that small piece of the puzzle.

I'm very happy for you that you got some favorites for that. But you seem to have conveniently forgotten the part in the post you reacted to where I said, "we'll focus just on the initial encounter."

thanks for the poo, though
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 10:55 AM on February 3, 2008


completely in his rights if the woman had become physical or insulting to him.

What? The cop is within his rights if the woman INSULTED him? Are you kidding? What law does that break? And if the cop is insulting to me, do I get to citizen-arrest him? In my neck of the woods, county police are making easily $75,000 after five years; many go well over $100,000 very quickly. And they get killed far, far, far less often than lots of other workers. I'm tired of hearing about how dangerous it is to be a cop. Don't do it if you're afraid; others will be thrilled to take your place for this job. There's a five-year waiting list here.

As far as my line of work--about 65 last year, mostly foreign correspondents.

posted by etaoin at 11:36 AM on February 3, 2008


What I don't understand about the mindset of the people who defend this sort of behavior by the police: do you not understand that you're subject to this as well? If you say the wrong thing in the wrong tone of voice to someone in a uniform, they can throw you to the ground, rip off your clothing, and lock you naked in a room for six hours? And if you're lucky they won't elecrocute you while they're at it?

Precisely. Every time I see the ol' "[incident of police brutality here] was obviously the citizen's fault for not shutting up and being totally subservient the instant the police showed up" line trotted out, I have to wonder how subservient the poster would be if this kind of thing started happening to him or her. Yelling something like "Hey! What are you doing!? Stop it!" is pretty much an instinctive response to being manhandled by another human being. So is squirming or struggling. IMHO, people should not be severely punished for (naturally) momentarily forgetting that cops aren't ordinary humans, but agents of the state. "Resisting arrest" is too often a completely bullshit charge -- in the many cases where it involves merely yelling at, insulting, and/or touching a cop, or struggling ineffectually against the cuffs, we ought to just be honest and call it "failure to respect mah authoritah".

I also wonder why the "they were asking for it" line doesn't work when a citizen rapes somebody in a scanty dress, or shoots the guy who beat up her sister, or slashes the tires of his stalker. I'll bet every single one of us has been screamed at before; I'll also bet that almost every cop in every first-world nation has had some lady wig out while being booked. Oddly enough, most of us don't reply to screams with an escalation of violence, nor do cops in other first-world nations make a habit of abusing the people they arrest. In fact, we (and by "we" I mean Americans, because people in other countries generally don't put up with this crap) only let cops off with this sort of excuse. We're way more insistent that our soldiers are held accountable for their fuck-ups, and they're not even doing it to our own people, so why do we cheerfully make so many allowances for the cops? I honestly don't get it -- it seems to me that the police should be held to a much higher standard than citizens are, "tough job" or not, low pay or not, excuses or not. IMHO it's long past time to demand a change in police culture... though the more cynical part of me suspects that it's already too late, the equivalent of wiggling and yelling once the cuffs are already on.

In short: there is a huge problem with law enforcement in this country, and the more often we excuse it away, the more often it'll come home to roost. Just remember, you have to be really quiet and submissive when they come 'round to you!
posted by vorfeed at 12:35 PM on February 3, 2008 [2 favorites]


do you not understand that you're subject to this as well?

for the record, I think they're wrong when the do it do soccer moms, wrong when they do it to crack hos, and wrong should they do it to me.

however, I don't think me or the soccer mom in this video should have any preferential treatment over the crack hos, and I also understand how dealing with an unending stream of crack-ho behavior inures the people in the system to dealing with problem people as problems and not people.
posted by panamax at 1:12 PM on February 3, 2008


Over 80 officers were violently killed in the line of duty last year
We're not talking about them. We're talking about the ones who stripped a women of her clothes and left her naked in a cell for 6 hours.

And I am talking about the system as it is and what it has to deal with day in and day out. Jails are not candycane factories, they have SOPs for very good reasons.

I for one wish we would halve our defense budget and double our criminal justice budget -- essentially turning our prisons into high-security schools -- but, unfortunately, (as about a third of this country thinks Hlllary is the reincarnation of Stalin) this nation is entirely too retrogressive to have this as an issue.

As long as they don't one day get lumped in with the crack-hos.
posted by panamax at 1:20 PM on February 3, 2008


Yes, it very much does matter. Our civil rights are laws too, even when they're inconvenient.

technically, I think that is incorrect. Our civil rights are ours not by law but by right. Laws empower our government to "interact" with these rights.
posted by panamax at 1:22 PM on February 3, 2008


For those who are saying that she deserves this treatment for failing to stay entirely calm and rational,

She doesn't deserve this treatment, nobody does. However, she is not the only one who gets this treatment, we all do.

Puzzle that one out.
posted by panamax at 1:31 PM on February 3, 2008


Who the hell carries somebody else's ID around

My dad carries his late father's driver's license. A friend of mine carries his late brother's license. It's a fairly common thing to do.
posted by desuetude at 1:38 PM on February 3, 2008


Did you watch the follow up report? There is missing tape that the police have not turned over to the Steffey's attorneys, including tape showing exactly what happened when the deputy arrested Mrs. Steffey at the scene, nor quite a bit that happened at the jail that was shot on a handheld camera.

In watching the follow-up report:

(1) The police claim that the dash-cam was not turned on until after she was put in the cruiser. Or, is it conveniently "missing?"

(2) Surveillance video in the police station shows that she was being filmed by a female office and that not all of the hand-cam video has been turned over to her attorneys. I wonder what other surveillance video shows before, during and after her being taken to the cell and stripped.
posted by ericb at 1:51 PM on February 3, 2008


[/lurk]

I just wanted to to say to those offering hypothetical or "empirical" reasons why there might be some rationale to treat a human being this way:

What the fuck is wrong with you?

Seriously.

You folks are generally pretty quick cookies, even the trolls. But I'm utterly astounded that anyone, much less the folks on the blue, could defend this particular video of this particular situation. That, perhaps more than the video itself, makes me despair for this nation.

[lurk]
posted by digitalprimate at 1:59 PM on February 3, 2008 [6 favorites]


^

You see the event, basically the video, in isolation.

I see the event in its possible set of contexts, and in the overall context of our current criminal system.

Nice people get their arms caught in this system all the time.

The system itself needs a lot of change in many areas, but I don't want to change it just for the soccer moms.
posted by panamax at 2:10 PM on February 3, 2008


Missing surveillance tape. Just marvelous. It's always astonishing to me when police get to decide - even for a short time - which parts of a tape to release. And the dash cam not turned on? Does anyone believe that? Isn't it usual practice to have the dash cam on during every stop? Isn't that the whole point of dash cams?
posted by mediareport at 2:12 PM on February 3, 2008


"I see the event in its possible set of contexts."

And that, exactly, is the problem.
posted by digitalprimate at 2:13 PM on February 3, 2008 [1 favorite]


You get the police state you allow, folks. Either start demanding change, or suck it up.
posted by five fresh fish at 2:17 PM on February 3, 2008 [1 favorite]


Mr. President Dr. Steve Elvis America says, Of course, and that's why I love these posts. They're like rorschach tests.

Indeed.

Mr. President Dr. Steve Elvis America says, She forgets that she's supposed to act subservient around the police, and they get pissed off. To teach her a lesson, they flag her as a suicide risk, strip her, and leave her to think about who's boss.
posted by papakwanz at 2:20 PM on February 3, 2008


Isn't it usual practice to have the dash cam on during every stop?

This wasn't a stop, it was a call.

And that, exactly, is the problem.

seeing an event in its possible contexts and thereby withholding judgment is basically the difference between an INTP and INTJ.
posted by panamax at 2:28 PM on February 3, 2008


There's a difference between acting subservient and informing the cop you have a First Amendment right to mouth off, "leaning" on him, and we don't even know what else she did to warrant being restrained and then thrown into the back of his cruiser.

Hint for people: do not "lean" on cops when they're out on a call. They REALLY don't like that.
posted by panamax at 2:33 PM on February 3, 2008


"Seeing an event in its possible contexts and thereby withholding judgment is basically the difference between an INTP and INTJ."

In many situations, sure (although I'm not entirely certain what MB has to do with it).

In this situation? This one? I would reiterate my, WTFIWWY.

(And nothing personal, especially if you actually have a DWT of 85-90,000 tons and carry bulk commodities for a living)
posted by digitalprimate at 2:35 PM on February 3, 2008 [1 favorite]


We're not talking about them. We're talking about the ones who stripped a women of her clothes and left her naked in a cell for 6 hours.

And I am talking about the system as it is and what it has to deal with day in and day out. Jails are not candycane factories, they have SOPs for very good reasons.


Yeah, but I really don't care how bad jails are. Every person who goes into jail should be given a fair shake, even if the whole night has been an endless stream of drunk drivers and hookers. If this woman gave them any reason to think she was suicidal, then I could understand them following their unnecessary rule "Strip all suicial people." Not understanding a question should not be reasonable reason to suspect that someone is suicidal. She never claimed she was suicidal. Having a good reason for a standard operating procedure becomes completely irrelevant when you start applying the rule incorrectly.
posted by 23skidoo at 2:39 PM on February 3, 2008


panamax, I think you're responding to the fact that the outrage can get hyperbolic and make people tend away from looking at things from the cops and the systems' point of view.

I agree with that sentiment but the strip search seems pretty iffy to me, particularly if as alleged they never simply asked her to undress, and the six hours naked in a cell can't be rationalized in any way. And if either of those things happened as vengeance or punishment for the lady not behaving tractably enough, that's fucking right out.

The law and lawsuits are one of the forces that shapes the system and the police profession too, along with the screaming crack whores. And for good reasons whether it's totally fair to cops to get caught in the middle or not. You can think of the backlash and lawsuits that will arise from this case sort of like we the public collectively tazing the system. *spark spark spark*

The same way that a cop can't manage to give everyone the appropriate benefit of the doubt all the time, the public can't afford to give the benefit of doubt to the system in this case. So objections along the lines of "this is just how things have to work" sound alot like the system saying "don't taze me, bro." Even if the ultimate outcome is that the system is acquitted of wrongdoing.
posted by XMLicious at 2:48 PM on February 3, 2008


what digitalprimate said bears bolded repeating:

I just wanted to to say to those offering hypothetical or "empirical" reasons why there might be some rationale to treat a human being this way:

What the fuck is wrong with you?

Seriously.

You folks are generally pretty quick cookies, even the trolls. But I'm utterly astounded that anyone, much less the folks on the blue, could defend this particular video of this particular situation. That, perhaps more than the video itself, makes me despair for this nation.


i worked in law enforcement for a decade. i know, quite personally, how difficult it can be to be one of the people who's in charge of "keeping the peace", to be one of the people who puts a real face on the Power of the State. it is a thankless job. it's incredibly disheartening. and that's why i got out. because when the realities of the job description exceed a person's ability to perform that job professionally and with dignity, they have no fucking business doing that job anymore.

ANY law enforcement officer who lets a person, regardless of mental state, irritate them to the point of abusing their power has NO FUCKING BUSINESS in law enforcement. PERIOD.

EVEN IF all the allegations suggested in this thread are true (e.g., "she was probably drunk," "she didn't keep her mouth shut," "she wasn't appropriately subservient to the cops," "she was suicidal and stripping is SOP for suicidal detainees," "screaming 'what the fuck are you doing?!?!??' is only going to make things worse", "she shouldn't have been carrying/given over her dead sister's ID," etc. ad nauseum), it is ABSOLUTELY NO FUCKING EXCUSE for the treatment she received. not enough female cops to do the stripping? FINE! keep her in cuffs, clothed, with a guard until you call in some backup. female cops from the next county over. female state police. whatever. afraid the female cops are going to get bitten? use a mouth guard! kicked? leg irons!

i'm so positively disgusted at the people who've been willing, over and over and over, to come back and make all kinds of cockamamie excuses for the cops' behavior. shoving a woman on the floor and having her be stripped, without explanation, by male cops?

absolutely.no.fucking.excuse.whatsoever.

my comments are not fuelled by speculation about what might have happened before the arrest or after the video camera was turned off. what was filmed was more than enough. that woman was violated in dangerous and life-changing ways. anyone who can defend that behavior is morally bankrupt. all i can hope and pray is that none of you have the same power that those cops in the video do.
posted by CitizenD at 3:24 PM on February 3, 2008 [11 favorites]


Cops are getting crazier and crazier all the time. Time was... they could only get away with doing this shit to Blacks and hippies, now they think they can do it to everybody. Even when I was a hippie I feared them less than I do now. Of course I wasn’t afraid of anything then, but cops have changed.

Even their morphology has changed. They all have this big-ass blocky chiseled body. I live in a rural southern county and the sheriff’s deputies here all wear tight, tailored, form fitting shirts, with short sleeves even in December. They’re insane and maybe on steroids.
posted by Huplescat at 3:31 PM on February 3, 2008 [1 favorite]


So objections along the lines of "this is just how things have to work"

I've tried to make it clear that it is my argument that this is how things DO work in the present system.

The system is US. We allowed this. We have a crime & punishment system that is out of whack.

We allow Guantanamo. We allow Abu Ghraibs. Then when some unbalanced soccer mom gets caught up in it, OMFG! bring the circus.

yeah, the cops should treat soccer moms nicer. Great.
posted by panamax at 4:20 PM on February 3, 2008


seeing an event in its possible contexts and thereby withholding judgment is basically the difference between an INTP and INTJ.seeing an event in its possible contexts and thereby withholding judgment is basically the difference between an INTP and INTJ.

Ah, I see, calling someone a nutcase is "withholding judgement" in your view. The cops may have had reason (although there has been no real evidence proferred of any) for the way they acted, but in my view you are being pretty disingenuous here.
posted by Hutch at 4:28 PM on February 3, 2008


Gah, I must learn to cut and past correctly. And preview.
posted by Hutch at 4:35 PM on February 3, 2008


To be fair, CitizenD, I only counted like a dozen or so spineless lickspittle authorityfuckers in this thread. That's like a twenty percent drop from the last time a video was posted of LEO committing acts that would get civilians thrown in jail.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 4:36 PM on February 3, 2008 [3 favorites]


Paste. (I'm going to go lie down now.)
posted by Hutch at 4:36 PM on February 3, 2008


i'm concerned that that there is no
'backstory" on this. why did her cousin make a 911 call.?
posted by lemuel at 4:58 PM on February 3, 2008


seeing an event in its possible contexts and thereby withholding judgment is basically the difference between an INTP and INTJ.

I'm an INTP and even I'm struggling to keep an open mind on this. I just can't find any plausible situation or context that would warrant this kind of behaviour.
posted by Talez at 5:06 PM on February 3, 2008


I'm glad some metapeeps are actually offended at that, because with the amount of abuse that goes on in this country by police it really seems like nobody cares.
.
If that woman was black, they might of just tased her a few times, and maybe even killed her. She was lucky she was white woman, if she was black man (or young black child) it could of been a death sentence.
.
Not sure why this police abuse is so acceptable in the USA, if this was Ireland, cops would be up on charges, nobody would be safe from loosing their jobs over a video like that.
posted by IronWolve at 5:06 PM on February 3, 2008 [1 favorite]


calling someone a nutcase is "withholding judgement" in your view

I was attempting to relate to you how The System deals with people in their custody who out of control. They/We restrain them. The key takeaway here is that she was behaving "like a nutcase", which, in The System's view and SOP, is all it needs to really clamp down on the person.

It's not so much that I am withholding judgement I guess, it's that I have several judgments cued up, depending on how the story plays out.

Did the woman actually strike the arresting officer? We don't know yet, but she WAS found guilty of "disorderly conduct" and "resisting arrest".

Granted, those two charges can be made to stick on nearly any behavior these days, but from what little we actually KNOW of this sequence of events ... telling the officer she had a "First Amendment right" to speak/hassle him, "leaning" on him (WTF?), saying to the booking officer's question if she was suicidal "now or ever?", it's clear that this person was "cruising for a bruising".

Part of the problem is that The System has been Federalized and Militarized over the past 20-odd years. I don't like it, but I'm over here with the Kucinich clowns as far as lefty / bleeding heart liberalism goes, believe it or not.

Not too long ago I was arguing here in the blue that The System should provide different standards of detention based on ability to pay. This particular incident ties into that argument.
posted by panamax at 5:07 PM on February 3, 2008


here in the blue that The System should provide different standards of

should NOT

repeat,

should NOT provide different standards of detention
posted by panamax at 5:08 PM on February 3, 2008


I just can't find any plausible situation or context that would warrant this kind of behaviour.

it's apparently SOP to strip detainees who are suicidal.

It's entirely possible she refused to strip when ordered to.

The System doesn't take to Refusals lightly.

Of course it's not "warranted" but that's the way it works.

We could have a separate, nicer, system for soccer moms, and me, and you, but the present system has evolved due to the strains and real-world challenges it deals with day in and day out.
posted by panamax at 5:11 PM on February 3, 2008


why did her cousin make a 911 call.?

because there was a family disturbance of some kind involving the woman. She had been injured (some hair pulled out).
posted by panamax at 5:13 PM on February 3, 2008


panamax, are you having arguments with yourself now? Looks like they're going to have to strip you naked and put you in a cell.
posted by Burhanistan at 5:14 PM on February 3, 2008


yeah, the cops should treat soccer moms nicer.

I haven't addressed you in this thread, panamax, because your arguments have been mind-bogglingly weak oversimplifications and logical leaps like this, but this "soccer mom"/"crack ho" thing is just tiresome.

Stop acting like the only reason people are upset is because she's a white woman. That has nothing to do with it, and if that's honestly what you believe then you just aren't getting it. The reason people are offended was the content of the video, not the color of her skin.
posted by MegoSteve at 5:15 PM on February 3, 2008


I was attempting to relate to you how The System deals with people in their custody who out of control. They/We restrain them. The key takeaway here is that she was behaving "like a nutcase", which, in The System's view and SOP, is all it needs to really clamp down on the person.


Sigh. She was crying hysterically as she was bent over a bed in a cell and at least two men forcibly removed her pants with no apparent explanation. Calling her a nutcase (I note that you have subtly changed your phrasing to "behaving like a nutcase" ) in this situation where you have so little information, is a judgement call. You have judged her. I could care less what your political affiliation is, as a scientist, such poor argument always get my goat.
Further, while you seem quite able to come up with reasons why the police might have acted as they did, you seem unable to explain her action (such as leaning). In the spirit of charity, I will give you a reason for the noted example. People who suffer head trauma or are in shock after injury may experience periods of dizziness and may involuntarily "lean" on the closest person for support in order to not fall on the ground and further injure themselves.
posted by Hutch at 5:31 PM on February 3, 2008


I've tried to make it clear that it is my argument that this is how things DO work in the present system.

Obviously, since it's on tape. But every time I have seen a video like this, regardless of the color of skin of the victim, I and everyone I know have found it outrageous and there has been a similar lawsuit.

We allow Guantanamo. We allow Abu Ghraibs. Then when some unbalanced soccer mom gets caught up in it, OMFG! bring the circus.

Are you saying there was not a circus over Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib?

Are you saying anything more than "there are systemic causes why things like this happen"? Yeah, there are.

Have there ever been any systems where this kind of thing has been fixed by a method other that by people getting outraged and calling for something to be done about it? Are you saying that if we had the right kind of system set up in the first place, this would just never happen, or would it happen but we could ignore it because the system would just fix itself?

Pretend that yes, we want a nicer system for soccer moms, except that beneath our blind delusional rantings we also want that nicer system for everyone else too. What kind of reaction to this would you propose to try to achieve that?
posted by XMLicious at 5:41 PM on February 3, 2008 [1 favorite]


This wasn't a stop, it was a call.

Fair point; it makes sense that the dash cam would only be turned on after they came back out then. The missing parts of the surveillance tape remain as evidence enough that something is being covered up. It should be the law that surveillance tape relevant to any kind of complaint should be released immediately in full, with major fines to police if it gets "lost" or parts are missing. We've just seen this over and over again; it's hardly a kneejerk response to understand that pattern.
posted by mediareport at 5:46 PM on February 3, 2008


not a circus over Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib

last I heard it was a frat-party type thing (/sarcasm). How many convictions of the Abu Ghraib peeps?

Guantanamo been closed yet? How many candidates say they will close it? What are their polling numbers?

Are you saying that if we had the right kind of system set up in the first place, this would just never happen, or would it happen but we could ignore it because the system would just fix itself?

I'm saying the American people aren't (presently) willing to pay for a system where this kind of thing isn't "necessary". It's unfortunate that a soccer mom got herself wrapped into it, but like I said above, if this is how we handle whacked-out crack-hos then soccer moms exhibiting similar behavior/security issues should rightly expect the same treatment.
posted by panamax at 6:37 PM on February 3, 2008


and at least two men forcibly removed her pants with no apparent explanation

The men were holding her down. The women were removing the clothing.
posted by panamax at 6:38 PM on February 3, 2008


Have there ever been any systems where this kind of thing has been fixed by a method other that by people getting outraged and calling for something to be done about it? Are you saying that if we had the right kind of system set up in the first place, this would just never happen, or would it happen but we could ignore it because the system would just fix itself?

She's filed a complaint with the system, and if it is sustained then you can bet heads will roll.

So in fact, the system is fixing itself. That's how it was built. And believe me, having seen some legal systems that *don't* self correct like that I much prefer the U.S. way.

There's an argument to be made that public pressure speeds the system along, but really.... what are you calling for to be done in this case that isn't already being done?
posted by tkolar at 6:50 PM on February 3, 2008


The men were holding her down. The women were removing the clothing.

Ah, well then, no problem, right? What's all the fuss? Thanks for clearing everything up for us, panamax!
posted by flapjax at midnite at 7:27 PM on February 3, 2008


panamax : It's unfortunate that a soccer mom got herself wrapped into it, but like I said above, if this is how we handle whacked-out crack-hos then soccer moms exhibiting similar behavior/security issues should rightly expect the same treatment.

So standing back and sneering will make the system better! Why didn't I think of that?

Great little gig you've got going there saying "we" on one hand so that we're all in this together, while at the same time shirking any responsibility for constructive criticism. You'd make a fabulous management character in Dilbert.

tkolar : There's an argument to be made that public pressure speeds the system along, but really.... what are you calling for to be done in this case that isn't already being done?

Ah, so clever of you to ignore my last question asking what you propose should be done and turn it back on me.

I'm saying that the lawsuit and the outrage and any calls for things like that to not happen again are appropriate, as opposed to simply throwing my hands up and saying that's just the way the system is. Insofar as the system is within our power we should apply those sorts of pressures to it, in the same way that the system applies pressure on the individuals within its power.
posted by XMLicious at 7:30 PM on February 3, 2008 [1 favorite]


Ah, well then, no problem, right?

the facts, and the details therein, of this case are important.

Did the woman "lean" on the arresting officer (her story), or did she actually shove him?

We don't know yet.

This wasn't a "strip-search". There was a SOP being followed to some great extent. This was being videotaped to protect everyone involved.

We don't know what really happened before this to put the jail crew on edge with this woman.

But lemme say I *do* hope it turns out the cops here were unjustified in their treatment of this woman. I'm not saying there isn't a potential "problem" here.

I wish our system had the resources, training, and quality of people to not treat people this way. Unfortunately, I'm in the minority, at least until some "innocent" soccer mom gets involved.
posted by panamax at 7:32 PM on February 3, 2008


Great little gig you've got going there saying "we" on one hand so that we're all in this together, while at the same time shirking any responsibility for constructive criticism

it's the curse of being a Left Libertarian. I think nobody should be treated this way, and intensely dislike the National Security state that has made this approach SOP.

But here we are.

I fear there's simply too much stupidity in this society -- from all quarters -- for us to fix ourselves. . .

"The significant problems we face cannot be solved at the same level of thinking we were at when we created them"
posted by panamax at 7:40 PM on February 3, 2008


But lemme say I *do* hope it turns out the cops here were unjustified in their treatment of this woman.

WTFIWWY?
posted by five fresh fish at 7:46 PM on February 3, 2008 [1 favorite]


To be specific, WTFIWWY that you'd think there could be justification for what they did?
posted by five fresh fish at 7:48 PM on February 3, 2008 [1 favorite]


I wish our system had the resources, training, and quality of people to not treat people this way.

When there's a problem with quality of people, is it okay to criticize them? Or are these issues that strictly need to be remedied with budget?

I fear there's simply too much stupidity in this society -- from all quarters -- for us to fix ourselves. . .

Or for anyone but you to openly criticize ourselves, evidently.

it's the curse of being a Left Libertarian.

Oh, the shackles. It's like being Jacob Marley but in this life! I can see how deeply it would pain you to admit the validity of any ideas but your own.
posted by XMLicious at 7:48 PM on February 3, 2008 [1 favorite]


five fresh fish, panamax is trying to attack the ocean with a knife here.
posted by Burhanistan at 7:49 PM on February 3, 2008


Panamax, I am sympathetic to your inclination to consider all of the possible contexts and to adopt the perspectives of "the system".

However.

You keep saying it was SOP but it is not SOP for males to be involved in the strip search of a female. This is all the video shows, and this is no minor point, because that is TRAUMATIC. I am a woman and I have been strip searched before because I was suicidal, and it was a terrible experience, but if men had been involved that would have been nightmarish. It is absolutely not supposed to happen, it is also not SOP. It doesn't matter if she "leaned" on the officer or spit on his momma, what little bit we saw in the video should never have happened. Not only should it not have happened, but it was a truly traumatic thing that happened. And this is aside from the rest of her story. This is even if you assume everything else she has said is a bunch of lies.

It is still a travesty, yet another in a long line.
posted by Danila at 7:50 PM on February 3, 2008 [2 favorites]


I fear there's simply too much stupidity in this society -- from all quarters -- for us to fix ourselves. . .

Oh, and on this we agree. I also believe nothing short of divine intervention can fix the system of things. I am also convinced that this will occur, so I'm not even as hopeless as you appear to be.

But one should never lose one's outrage over outrageous things. As soon as you stop "sighing and groaning over all the detestable things" (Ezekiel) you become a part of the system.
posted by Danila at 7:53 PM on February 3, 2008 [1 favorite]


"Oh! Oh! There's so much wrong with our system! Oh so much! But not what you point out. O the tragedy! The stupidity! The earth-rending dysfunction! But not what you said. I can hardly bear the agony, the loneliness, of being the only one to see it all with clear eyes!"
posted by XMLicious at 7:54 PM on February 3, 2008


Far better wit to say it with a Biblical reference. Though I'd have thrown in something about gnashing of teeth.
posted by XMLicious at 7:55 PM on February 3, 2008


Ah, so clever of you to ignore my last question asking what you propose should be done and turn it back on me.

Sorry, didn't mean to be unfair -- it's just that I don't have an answer for you. I believe the system is working pretty well compared to the many other systems that have been tried, and are being tried right now. As long as you have humans involved in the equation, shit like this is going to happen -- the best you can do is to keep it to a minimum.

Basically I think that in any world where the legal system is free of abuses, we wouldn't need a legal system to begin with.

I'm saying that the lawsuit and the outrage and any calls for things like that to not happen again are appropriate, as opposed to simply throwing my hands up and saying that's just the way the system is. Insofar as the system is within our power we should apply those sorts of pressures to it, in the same way that the system applies pressure on the individuals within its power.

There's no question that the lawsuit is important. As for the other stuff -- I will once again harken back to the public pressure and outrage that drove Durham County into persecuting and prosecuting three innocent people for over a year. Just because we as individuals *can* push the system around doesn't mean that we necessarily should.

Because of the way the legal system is structured, the Sheriff's office has remained tight lipped so far. There will come a time in the not too distant future when they will make a public defense of their actions -- and if they don't have a damn good explanation, I'm all for hanging the bastards.

But the fact is that this video being leaked right now in this way stinks to high heaven of someone trying to manipulate public opinion. At the very least you might want to stop and think about who that is, and why.
posted by tkolar at 8:08 PM on February 3, 2008


I wrote...
But the fact is that this video being leaked right now in this way stinks to high heaven of someone trying to manipulate public opinion. At the very least you might want to stop and think about who that is, and why.

Whoa, dude. Now I'm getting all paranoid and shit and trying to decide who benefits on Super Tuesday from a populace that's scared of the government.
posted by tkolar at 8:15 PM on February 3, 2008


At the very least you might want to stop and think about who that is, and why.

Oh, I definitely have. I'm not saying that only one party can be the bad guys, either.
posted by XMLicious at 8:17 PM on February 3, 2008



Seem to me that the police can treat you badly, and if you disagree or become fraustrated, or angry, they feel justified. Your angry behaviour confirms and supports theie risk anxieties. and the feedback loop accelerates. more anger, more restraint.

What is worrying is that at no point did anyone try to calm her down or explain what is going on.
I doubt we have the full facts, but it's a scary video to watch, she is powerless, and they make her submit.

No-one will be charged. She was processed.
posted by matholio at 8:24 PM on February 3, 2008


Oh, and on this we agree. I also believe nothing short of divine intervention can fix the system of things. I am also convinced that this will occur, so I'm not even as hopeless as you appear to be. But one should never lose one's outrage over outrageous things. As soon as you stop "sighing and groaning over all the detestable things" (Ezekiel) you become a part of the system.

Better than outrage would be some action. Sitting back and waiting for some spiritual being to come and wish the world's problems away instead of actually taking part in changing things is being a part of the problem, not the solution.

I hope you're the sort that does let his/her reps know what s/he believes is right and just.
posted by five fresh fish at 8:44 PM on February 3, 2008


panamax, tkolar, et al:

Granted, we don't know all the facts of the case, but if it's true that she was held in custody naked for 6 hours is there ANY scenario that justifies that?
posted by flotson at 8:46 PM on February 3, 2008


but it is not SOP for males to be involved in the strip search of a female

again, for the 10th time, this wasn't a strip search.
posted by panamax at 8:55 PM on February 3, 2008


This is even if you assume everything else she has said is a bunch of lies.

I agree this was traumatic to her, and a travesty.

I too would be soiling my drawers if I found myself in her situation being taken down to County lockup after mixing it up with a deputy (for whatever reason).

It is what our system is designed to do. Process people. as matholio above so aptly put it.

The system has become industrial-strength to deal with the hard cases. When the soccer moms and delicate PHP programmers get thrown into it, bad things can happen.
posted by panamax at 8:59 PM on February 3, 2008


if it's true that she was held in custody naked for 6 hours is there ANY scenario that justifies that?

Personally, I say no.

But jails aren't staffed our designed for the convenience of the inmates, especially suspected suicidal inmates.

They should be, but too much of the country is rooting for America's Toughest Sheriff to want to see the criminal system improved like that. They want to see our justice system operate like our sewer systems, flush and forget.
posted by panamax at 9:03 PM on February 3, 2008


matholio and danila said more succintly what I wanted to say. What the woman did or didn't do is pretty much irrelevant. This woman is being intentionally humiliated and traumatized.

She was forcibily stripped by MEN, apparently without even being told why.

She was held in custody for 6 hours naked! Without even the standard paper suit that every hospital and police station has for situations when clothes are a danger or are other wise unwearable.

You can be jaded and blow it off as The Way Things Are if you want to feel worldly I guess, or you can be really glad when something like this makes it to the mainstream populace, where maybe it will sink in that in a society where normal behaviors are increasingly criminalized and where police are more and more militarized, behaving more like an occupying force than public servants, this could happen to any of us. Yes, even your white, middle class wife or daughter, who has the right hair, teeth, accent, and car.

There's no such thing as too much outrage over things like this.
posted by small_ruminant at 9:12 PM on February 3, 2008 [1 favorite]


but if it's true that she was held in custody naked for 6 hours is there ANY scenario that justifies that?

Not one that I can think of. Of course, there's no reason to single out that part of her allegations: if they're true then naked imprisonment is about the least nasty thing to happen that night.

At this moment, though, the presence of male officers during her stripping is far more worrisome to me. There's actual evidence for that, and if I'm outraged by anything right now it's that the Sheriff's office hasn't commented one way or another on the topic. I have a hard time believing that it's SOP.

As I said earlier, they'd better have damn good explanations for what went on there.
posted by tkolar at 9:18 PM on February 3, 2008


"Oh wait, you mean you didn't realize that the tape was made by the cops themselves, who then released it to the defense as part of the discovery process of the suit? "

Wait, didn't the story say that the tape was made by the cops but not turned over to the plaintiff? From that, it'd seem more likely that it was leaked by a cop who didn't agree with the rest of the cops.
posted by klangklangston at 9:49 PM on February 3, 2008


What on earth is your point, panamax? You are wordy as hell but never seem to come to a conclusive point or commitment of opinion.
posted by five fresh fish at 9:59 PM on February 3, 2008


What on earth is your point, panamax?

I have to admit I'm kind of wondering the same thing.

I mean, one message explaining that she probably triggered the response she got was really enough. You really seem obsessed with it.
posted by tkolar at 10:19 PM on February 3, 2008


It seems his point is "I think that everyone who believes this treatment is unacceptable is being disingenuous. The real (and sole) reason you object to this video is because it's a soccer mom receiving this treatment."
posted by 23skidoo at 10:33 PM on February 3, 2008


but if it's true that she was held in custody naked for 6 hours is there ANY scenario that justifies that?
Not one that I can think of.


Actually I just thought of one. If she was given paper clothes but willfully destroyed them, I'm not sure how many times I would expect the jail to offer up new ones.
posted by tkolar at 10:37 PM on February 3, 2008


You are wordy as hell but never seem to come to a conclusive point or commitment of opinion.

"The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposing ideas in mind at the same time and still retain the ability to function." -- F. Scott Fitzgerald

: u
posted by panamax at 11:23 PM on February 3, 2008


Why do people keep calling her a soccer mom?
posted by taz at 3:22 AM on February 4, 2008


Why do people keep calling her a soccer mom?

I guess that's the all-purpose euphemism for young-to-middle-aged white suburban American housewife/mothers? Does seem kinda lazy, doesn't it?
posted by flapjax at midnite at 3:38 AM on February 4, 2008


"The test of a first-rate intelligence is
the ability to hold two opposing ideas in mind at the same time and still retain the ability to function." -- F. Scott Fitzgerald

Couldn't that also define, say, multiple-personality disorder?
posted by skyper at 7:12 AM on February 4, 2008


the ability to hold two opposing ideas in mind at the same time...

"Master's my friend. You don't have any friends. Nobody likes you. I'm not listening ..."
posted by ericb at 7:48 AM on February 4, 2008


yet again, ericb with the WIN!
posted by CitizenD at 7:57 AM on February 4, 2008


"The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposing ideas in mind at the same time and still retain the ability to function." -- F. Scott Fitzgerald

Might want to be careful with that quote -- people may read it as a cry for help from your no longer functioning mind.
posted by tkolar at 8:49 AM on February 4, 2008


Panamax seems a bit off to me. His comments read like they were cobbled together by a focus group.
posted by Huplescat at 4:48 PM on February 4, 2008


Ah, the curse of being a left libertarian.
posted by mediareport at 6:13 AM on February 5, 2008


From last night's Colbert Report:

‘Whose side are you on, sir?’
‘My side.’
posted by XMLicious at 8:04 AM on February 5, 2008


In BC, things are done differently. Grow op case thrown out of court because the cops B&E'd with guns drawn.

This is how a civilized society does things: violence isn't the first resort.
posted by five fresh fish at 8:57 PM on February 7, 2008


« Older Afghan journalist found guilty of blasphemy by Sha...  |  The band Beirut released the F... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments