Sunday, May 26, 2013

RE: Amanda Bynes' allegation that New York police officer sexually assaulted her

RE:  Amanda Bynes' allegation that New York Police Officer sexually assaulted her 

As I was shocked to discover upon my researching what I thought TSOs could and could not legally touch at the airpot: every male police officer in this country is taught that frisking a woman is no different than frisking a man.  Their department policy may spell out limits (e.g., heel of the hand lifting breasts) but as far as they are concerned the criminal law does not apply -- to them.  Sorry about that Amanda!


Three videos of male officers subjecting female victims to (ever so slow motion) sexual battery: (groped in first minute – released at tenth minute) (groping begins at 12 minutes -- takes a long time to load)
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Back when the airport screening got heavy I got on the net to research what the constitutional limits must really be.  Turns out police departments around the country think there are no limits criminal or constitutional to male officers groping females.  I was shocked by one of my first finds: a widely reported story of a courthouse guard groping a mother with two little children to find a sticker in her back pocket.  Story was about scanners coming to courthouses -- groping not even commented on!

Officer safety is the first excuse.  But a female checked for guns -- which can be done without touching anything with fingers -- and rear cuffed behind is a shield is not going to, first, do the Houdini and slip the bracelets and, then, do the Incredible Hulk, tear aside the partition, draw a sharp object from her bra and scratch the police officer. 

Second is the mindless notion that it is not sexual battery as long a cop does it.  "We are professionals doing a job."  Even: "We are like doctors."  Policy may or not discourage going as far as possible but whatever they do, they don't consider it illegal.

Turns out at the airport the letter of the law is that once you enter the security zone, you must submit to the complete body grope -- even if you are a female and only males are available (which is supposed to be not extremely unusual in small airports).  It presumably is not strictly enforced -- but just the idea that it can be written shows a giant mental cog is missing with law enforcement on this issue.

Here a female reporter incredibly subjects herself to a male full body frisk on camera.
They even practice kids on kids (presumably over 18).

Simple enough: any search for evidence can be conducted at the police station by the same matron who would strip search the woman if arrested.  Probable cause means better than 50/50 chance she will be charged, right?  In any case, women in this country can live with the fact that they may be pulled in to a police station to be searched some time in their lives.  I can't find the link but Kansas City (I think) police recently held a woman for three days until a female officer came to work to search her for a major shoplift.  What women cannot live with is leaving their driver's license home and knowing some brute will perfectly free to grope all over her like she was a teenage boy.

The same law applies to cops that applies to everybody else.  A possibly needed common sense legal point: you cannot justify battery because of some good overall effect -- like freeing more police to patrol -- you can only justify battery because of a dangerous circumstance on the spot.  One more: If any male police officer can grope a female for any reason as long as it is not sexual -- so can any other male.

The police point to the Terry decision allowing a pat down under clothing under certain constitutionally approved circumstances as if no distinction needs to be made as to sex (as to sexual battery actually).

If there had been a state law that prohibited male police frisking a female intimately (lifting breasts with the heel of the hand, hips and legs any way they want to in today's practice) as a felonious sexual battery could Terry's words have canceled that -- the word of "God"?

Actually, there is no constitutional path by which a court can set aside a criminal prohibition.  A court can set aside a protection of a citizen (Fourth Amendment in this case) for police or societal need -- but it cannot allow an exception to a legislative prohibition against harming a citizen other than for imminent danger.  If the Terry court had consciously thought of excepting females from protection from sexual battery it could not have done it.

If a legislature excepted police officers from the prohibition against sexual battery, then, an opposing equal protection (the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment) argument would come into play to protect the citizen.

California actually has a half thought out rule that police and private security should try to get a female, first, before a male frisks a female -- which implies sloppily that such male-on-female frisks are not actually illegal.  Since this was written to protect females, it should not be taken as establishing an exception but as regulating an exception that the legislature misunderstood to already exist.

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