from the on-the-other-hand,-all-real-crime-is-no-longer-a-problem dept
Now that the Supreme Court has given states the freedom to police women’s bodies, it only makes sense that police are out there literally policing women’s bodies.
It’s summer. Temperatures are high pretty much everywhere. And when temps go up, the amount of clothing people are willing to put on goes down. For some reason, that completely expected turn of events resulted in some ridiculous enforcement of law by local law enforcement. (h/t Peter Bonilla)
Casey LaCaze-Lachney of Winnfield, Lousiana went to a festival in town June 11 dressed like this (screenshot via Lachney’s TikTok account):
For that, she was cited for indecent exposure by a Winnfield PD officer:
A Winnfield, LA woman’s TikTok video has gone viral after she took to the app to complain about an indecent exposure citation she received at a festival on Saturday, June 11.
Casey LaCaze-Lachney, known on the app by her username @kazzi112, posted about the incident where it has received more than 2.6 million views. LaCaze-Lachney captioned the video “make it make sense” before showing viewers the outfit in question.
LaCaze-Lachney is shown wearing a black t-shirt that covered her shoulders and was cropped just above the belly button, paired with cutoff denim shorts and a studded belt.
The video went viral but this was no stunt. This actually happened. According to the Winnfield PD’s pathetic, incredibly defensive Facebook post, an officer actually believed this totally normal summer outfit violated the law:
Winnfield’s 6th Annual Dugdemona Festival held on Main Street was an amazing success. However, recent posts to social media have had a negative impact on the service of our police officers during this family fun-filled festival.
An unnamed citizen was cited for a city ordinance and has since taken to a popular social media site, blasting police officers. However, 3 female officers responded to various complaints about the person’s attire and the person of interest was issued a citation under the city ordinance.
Um, the only thing having a “negative impact on the service” of the PD’s officers is the service of the PD’s officers. If “various complaints” are made about someone who isn’t breaking the law, the officers (female or not) should ignore those complaints and concern themselves with actual lawbreaking.
But that didn’t happen. Instead, a citation was issued for violating city ordinance 14-76. This ordinance is quoted by the PD in its “stop being mad at us for being assholes” post. Here it is. See if you can’t spot the lawbreaking!
“It shall be unlawful for any person to wear pants, trousers, shorts, skirts, dresses, or skorts in any public place or places open to the public which either intentionally exposes undergarments or intentionally exposes any portion of the pubic hair, cleft of buttocks, or genitals.” Fines range from $25.00 for a first offense to a maximum of $300, and the person may be ordered to perform up to 40 hours of community service.
Even if the shorts/crop top managed to inadvertently expose, say, the “cleft of the buttocks” (perhaps when bending over), it would not be an intentional exposure. And I have no idea how this law applies to swimming pools, where the clothing worn is indistinguishable from “undergarments” in many cases.
To conclude this stupidity, the PD offered this statement, which says the PD will not lower itself to engaging with irate citizens for lowering the department to its current level by citing a person for wearing clothes.
“We, as public servants, will not engage in a social media war with any one or any organization, as it is improper and brings discredit upon this department. We also cannot comment on details of any case under investigation or pending court action.”
It’s a bit late for most of this. The department has already done the “improper” and succeeded in “bringing discredit” on itself. It was a stupid, unlawful move by local law enforcement. And it’s definitely going to end in some court action.
Speaking of court action, here’s our second bit of literal policing of women’s bodies. This one occurred quite a bit earlier than the Winnfield debacle, but is back in the news because the victim of body policing is getting a payout from the city of Portland over the actions of some similarly stupid officers.
I’m going to dole out this lead sentence in chunks for maximum impact:
The city will pay $75,000 to settle a federal lawsuit filed by a woman arrested by Portland police in 2019 after she was seen twerking in a bike lane downtown…
I’m not sure what part of this is more laughable: that officers believed twerking was a crime or that doing it in a bike lane was the part that triggered enforcement. Either way, it gets stupider:
…and had flipped off officers during a protest.
Definitely not a crime. In fact, it’s the opposite: it’s constitutionally protected expression. It really doesn’t matter where it happens (bike lane) or what expression (twerking) accompanies it. The precedent in this judicial circuit dates all the way back to 1990. So, Portland police officers have been on notice for more than three decades that flipping off cops cannot justify an arrest.
The cops had an excuse though:
Portland police Cmdr. Erica Hurley defended the arrest at the hearing, saying officers had probable cause to arrest the woman who wasn’t allowing traffic to move through. Police cars need to get through traffic just like any other cars, she said.
Well, that’s one way to look at it. Another way to look at it is that the momentary twerking did not actually block traffic and that maybe cops shouldn’t be driving their cars in bike lanes. And yet another way of looking at it is that no criminal act ever occurred. That’s the way the jury saw it when it handled her misdemeanor charge, returning a verdict of “not guilty.”
This is obviously just a very small, very specific sampling of police misconduct. But it’s particularly stupid misconduct that, nonetheless, received full-blown support from the agencies employing these officers. That’s why it’s a problem. It indicates no petty amount of bullshit is beneath being defended.