Police departments have been cracking down on officer misconduct in all forms of proven offenders, ensuring they never work in law enforcement again. Especially with the public awareness concerning police conduct increasing daily. There has been a mountain of video, literature and commentary, which have spurred various ethics debates on the use of excessive force and police brutality. In the wake of all this there is another serious issue that often goes unnoticed, and many times can get outright dismissed. Many officers know the system well and can frame the public view of the accuser as crazy or know the people who operate safe houses and DA’s who then may be slow to prosecute if at all.
Sex-related crimes and sexual misconduct at the hands of police officers are coming to light across the nation. These issues, from a statistical standpoint, were the second most reported form of abuse and misconduct involving police right behind excessive force from 2009 to 2010. In the past six years, over 1,000 officers have had their badges revoked permanently with convictions and charges ranging from possessing child pornography to rape to having consensual sex on the clock to forced sodomy to propositioning citizens, and a host of others prohibited or illegal sexual activities. Those decertified include state and local police, school resource officers, corrections officers and sheriff’s deputies. These specific types of crimes can damage the credibility of an entire city’s police force with an already tense public. International Association of Police Chiefs member, and Sarasota, FL police chief, Bernadette DiPino helped create the report on sexual misconduct. In her experience, past departments took a very liberal attitude towards this behavior. She refuses to continue the trend.
One of the most high-profile cases involves former Oklahoma City, OK police . Holtzclaw, whose trial started yesterday, is a former high football star who is now being charged with 36 counts of sexual misconduct and crimes including rape, oral sodomy and sexual assault, stemming from incidents that started as far back as December 20, 2013. One victim, who was 17 at the time of the attack, professes that she was raped on the front porch of her mother’s home by Holtzclaw. His latest accuser, only identified as “J.L.,” was allegedly intimidated into performing oral sex on him during a routine traffic stop. She quickly went to the hospital and contacted Oklahoma sex crimes detectives to ensure she had evidence of it. All of his victims are women of color with no powerful family connections. Some were from low-income backgrounds in urban communities, and some may have had troubles in their past as well.
With many who are viewed as vulnerable or not credible can become easy prey for a sexual predator with the type of power police have. This power is a major reason many of these incidents go unreported. Many victims feel as if they are going up against an entire police force, who may side with the position of the attacker over them.