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Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Driving while female

...Many victims do not come forward for fear of reprisal. Females who are unlikely to be seen as credible by the public are the ones often targeted for abuse for that very reason... 40 percent of our nation's law enforcement officers reportedly have used violence against their domestic partners...

Police misconduct danger to women
News-Leader.com, MO
Jill Lynn Elliston Nixa
June 24, 2008
[Excerpts] Bravo to Sarah Overstreet's idea (June 12) for a standardized protocol for Missouri law enforcement officers to use during night stops. I wouldn't have a problem with such a policy also applying to certain stops made in the daytime. Sgt. Dan Bracker's excellent safety tips for motorists during stops were also past due. Conspicuously absent from Sheriff's Capt. Randy Gibson's recent comments about this issue is any mention of the danger that exists to female drivers from not only someone impersonating a law officer, but also from potential police misconduct. The plight of Dr. Ramona Miller ought to send a chill down the spine of every woman (and possibly man) who encounters a law officer while driving alone. Lisa Revelle was not even safe from police misconduct in death. A special report by the Police Professionalism Initiative at the University of Nebraska revealed that in addition to Dr. Miller's and Vanessa Kimery's cases, reviews of national print media reveal hundreds of "driving while female" cases. Unscrupulous law officers misuse the authority entrusted to them, often in traffic stops, to harass or assault females. Reports of gender profiling abuses run the gamut from sexual harassment to homicide (State of California v Craig Peyer 1988)... Many victims do not come forward for fear of reprisal. Females who are unlikely to be seen as credible by the public are the ones often targeted for abuse for that very reason. In many cases, the driver actually is guilty of an offense and the police officer takes advantage of her vulnerable legal status. Some police departments do not accept and investigate all citizen complaints. Others only investigate citizen complaints internally. Also troubling are statistics from the National Center for Women and Policing which show that 40 percent of our nation's law enforcement officers reportedly have used violence against their domestic partners, and domestic violence is almost four times more likely to take place in police families... As technology continues to advance, the public attains more options for recording any inappropriate actions by police. Additionally, when the balance of power is so drastically shifted away from a citizen, we can only benefit by encouraging the interaction to take place in view o others. In the words of Lord Acton, "Power tends to corrupt. Absolute power corrupts absolutely." [Full article here]

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