Worse Than The Disease: Law Enforcement Officers Committing Sexual Violence In The Line Of Duty

from the criminals-on-both-sides-of-the-line dept

Maybe all these politicians and activists who want tough-on-crime leadership are looking at the wrong side of the thin blue line. The cure is worse than the disease, as the saying goes, and these officers seem to be going out of their way to prove that adage.

First up, following on the heels of the multiple rectal violations committed by a New Mexico doctor at the behest of police officers in search of drugs that just weren't there is this story, which features more New Mexico law enforcement members violating someone's lower regions -- again, in search of drugs.

Cops in New Mexico repeatedly sprayed a woman’s vagina with mace after she was arrested for drugs. They allegedly did this to “punish” her.

The woman, Marlene Tapia, was taken to the Metropolitan Detention Center after her arrest. Next, officers stripped her to search for drugs. They made her bend over and then claimed she had a plastic bag containing drugs in her vagina.

Officers should have subsequently had medical staff remove the bag from Tapia — but they did not do this.

Instead, officers “punished” the woman by spraying her vagina with mace. They allegedly did this several times in a row.
To be clear, these were corrections officers at a detention center, not police officers. Tapia apparently actually had a baggie of drugs inserted in her vagina, but as is pointed out in the lawsuit, spraying her with mace wasn't going to dislodge it, and she wasn't offering the officers any resistance. As is also pointed out, corrections officers are supposed to refer anyone they suspect of hiding drugs to the medical center for examination. Obviously, they do things differently in New Mexico, especially if the "problem area" happens to be below the waist.

There is little doubt this incident actually occurred. According to the filing, the officer (Blanca Zapater) was both instructed to stop spraying mace on Tapia's genitals by her supervisor and was later punished for her actions. Tapia is now seeking damages and court fees for Zapater's clearly stupid actions.

This next case is much, much worse on every level, further underscoring the fact that those charged with enforcing laws often seem to be at least as dangerous as those who break them.
A 40-year-old police officer in San Antonio, Texas is facing charges of felony sexual assault after a 19-year-old woman accused him of handcuffing and raping her during a traffic stop over the weekend.

According to an arrested warrant obtained by the San Antonio Express-News, Officer Jackie Len Neal pulled over the teen, telling her that her car was reported stolen.

Even though the woman produced a sales slip for the vehicle, Neal insisted on patting her down. The woman told him she felt uncomfortable with the pat down and asked for a female officer, but he ignored her, the warrant said. The woman was allegedly groped, placed in handcuffs and then taken to the back of his patrol car.

Neal was accused of raping the woman and instructing her to keep it a secret.
Neal's dashboard cam and mike weren't working as his system was missing its hard drive. This fact Neal would have been aware of, according to his police chief, William McManus. The car's GPS system confirmed that Neal's patrol car was parked at this location for 18 minutes.

Neal's past is checkered with other abuse.
McManus confirmed that Neal had been suspended in September for dating an 18-year-old, who had joined the Police Explorer program in preparation for a law enforcement career. He had also been accused of sexual assault while on duty several years earlier, but the woman refused to cooperate with a police investigation and the charges were dropped.
This may not be the end of it either. McManus must suspect his officer is a habitual offender as he's made a call for other victims to come forward. The lack of criminal charges preceding this event likely kept McManus from unloading an officer he felt was problematic. That it culminated in an alleged rape before being corrected is an indictment of the system itself.



Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    Deranged Poster (profile), Nov 26th, 2013 @ 12:13pm

    And some still wonder why more & more don't trust the police.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 26th, 2013 @ 12:35pm

    Punishment and discipline

    Woman claims officer sprayed mace on genitals”, by Ryan Luby, KOB Eyewitness News 4, November 22, 2013
     . . . Instead, an officer “punished” the woman by spraying her vagina with mace. That officer, Blanca Zapater, allegedly did this several times in a row. . . .

    Staff at the Metropolitan Detention Center declined to comment on the case, but confirmed that the Zapater is still on staff after she was hired in November 2008.

    According to the lawsuit, Zapater was disciplined for the situation involving Tapia. . . .

    Punishment and discipline.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 26th, 2013 @ 12:46pm

    ... Or they lie about the cops as much as the rest of us. Maybe there is a reason the victim wouldn't cooperate.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4.  
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    Glen, Nov 26th, 2013 @ 1:21pm

    Re:

    Maybe it could be like the first woman that had her vagina maced while the detention officers' superior is asking her not too.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5.  
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    Geno0wl (profile), Nov 26th, 2013 @ 2:04pm

    Guess they run their in car video different than us

    I work Tech support for a major metro department.
    In our cars there keys to the bay that only the Admin Sgt has, and no way for officers to manually delete videos without admin credentials(which we give NOBODY outside of our staff).
    We do that for the simple obvious reason, to curb abuse.
    Now they could still turn off the system(and it can not be turned off while their lights are on). But at least it is one barrier of "proof".
    The new system we are working on actually will have a built in "buffer" that automatically records everything(video only) even in "idle" mode as long as the car is on. It would automatically overwrite, but that days at least a day to happen.
    We have/are putting in place items to curb abuse, shame more places don't take these obvious steps to do the same.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 26th, 2013 @ 2:17pm

    Re: Guess they run their in car video different than us

    I work Tech support for a major metro department.

    You should find an honest job.

    Don't be a collaborator.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 26th, 2013 @ 2:20pm

    Re: Guess they run their in car video different than us

    When you have to take steps like that to curb abuse you have a major problem with the police department that those steps will not solve. Their appear to be deep cultural problems with police departments where they consider the public the enemy.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 26th, 2013 @ 2:50pm

    Atleast you can fight back vs others, unlike police where you would be "resisting". Its no wonder why people dont feel safe around them

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9.  
    identicon
    Rekrul, Nov 26th, 2013 @ 3:47pm

    Re: Guess they run their in car video different than us

    How do you guard against the cop putting something in front of the camera lens?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 26th, 2013 @ 4:28pm

    What would happen if this suddenly equipment malfunctions where to be viewed as proof of bad intent and shift the trust to the accuser?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11.  
    identicon
    Anonymous, Nov 26th, 2013 @ 5:50pm

    "What I'm sayin' what if people start shootin' 'em back?
    Spit caps outta gats till the beast collapse...
    And hear us all say 'Power to the people!' combined
    Hold court in the streets till these pigs comply."
    -Paris

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12.  
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    That One Guy (profile), Nov 26th, 2013 @ 6:53pm

    Re: Re: Guess they run their in car video different than us

    In this case at least they do seem to be in an honest job, in particular keeping the other members of the force honest via video evidence of their actions.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 26th, 2013 @ 6:55pm

    Re: Re: Guess they run their in car video different than us

    The legal system is the best way for that which has proven problematic. Simply apply destruction of evidence rules and not only charge them for it but allow for an assumption that there was damning evidence - a.k.a. autoguilty.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 26th, 2013 @ 7:24pm

    Did they use bare mace?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 26th, 2013 @ 11:01pm

    Re: Re: Guess they run their in car video different than us

    That's no different then just switch off the system, so 'But at least it is one barrier of "proof".'

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16.  
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    That One Guy (profile), Nov 27th, 2013 @ 12:36am

    Re: Re: Re: Guess they run their in car video different than us

    Oh would I love to see that charge brought up any time a cop steals a camera/phone, claiming it has 'evidence' on it, only to (maybe) return it later, without the damning video/pictures on it.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  17.  
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    PaulT (profile), Nov 27th, 2013 @ 2:06am

    Re:

    "Maybe there is a reason the victim wouldn't cooperate."

    If there's any truth to this allegation:

    "Instead, officers “punished” the woman by spraying her vagina with mace."

    ... I don't give a crap if she was co-operating or not. There's no defensible justification for this.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  18.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 27th, 2013 @ 2:56am

    Re: Re: Re: Guess they run their in car video different than us

    they do seem to be in an honest job

    The guy's paycheck is coming out of forfeiture money.

    Stealing money is not honest.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  19.  
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    Geno0wl (profile), Nov 27th, 2013 @ 6:10am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Guess they run their in car video different than us

    uh no
    my paycheck comes from the City payroll "pool", therefore I am paid directly by taxpayers.
    And, at least from my perspective, the current environment here is actually rather healthy.
    No fighting against filming by citizens, very strong IIS that has actually filed charges against three officers in the past couple years, and my biggest complaint about any particular officer is that they are lazy and not a bully or anything like that.

    not to say there have never been problems, in fact the Department was in a heap load of problems over 10 years ago. But because of that the leaders changed and the culture shifted.
    You are right you can never stop people who are truly willing to block the camera, or pull the cable, or whatever. But at least here that type of thing isn't taken lightly.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  20.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 27th, 2013 @ 7:59am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Guess they run their in car video different than us

    When Did ‘To Serve & Protect’ Become ‘To Seize & Profit?’ ”, by Jesse Lava and Sarah Solon, The Nation, October 29, 2013
    … [I]t’s not just happening in Philadelphia; it’s happening nationwide to people’s houses, cars, cash and other property that cops seize and sell to make money for their departments.…

    Money that cops generate from such seizures bankroll their departments, and sometimes even fund their own salaries. That gives police a strong incentive to abuse civil asset forfeiture laws, search people unconstitutionally, engage in racial profiling and over-enforce minor offenses, needlessly increasing people’s contact with the criminal justice system. The more they seize, the better off their departments are.…

    Something is deeply wrong here. When incentives are this out of whack, abuse ensues—encouraging law enforcement to put profit above public safety.…


    Get an honest job.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  21.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 28th, 2013 @ 11:34am

    About the girl who was arrested with drugs, i feel no sympathy or pity. She should have been shot on sight IMO.

    But the officer who harassed the teen... He should be hanged publicly and his remains cut down and displayed in public to set an example as to what would happen if you do something like that.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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