The Associated Press has a long and rigorous report outlining the number of police officers who have lost their badges over sex crimes in a six-year period. According to the AP, their investigation found nearly 1,000 officers nationwide who had been fired for rape, sexual assault and other sex crimes including possession of child pornography.
The AP reports:
The number is unquestionably an undercount because it represents only those officers whose licenses to work in law enforcement were revoked, and not all states take such action. California and New York — with several of the nation’s largest law enforcement agencies — offered no records because they have no statewide system to decertify officers for misconduct. And even among states that provided records, some reported no officers removed for sexual misdeeds even though cases were identified via news stories or court records.
The report notes that the problem is fueled, in part, by the lack of nationwide laws and piecemeal approach to reporting police-perpetrated sexual assault. Those who are most vunerable—the young, poor, addicts and women are color—are far less likely to report their assaults.
In addition to the numbers, the report profiles a number of women who have been victimized by the police. Their stories repeat the real sense of powerlessness these victims felt as they attempted to navigate a judicial system many felt was stacked against them.
Take, for example, the case of Milwaukee Police Officer Ladmarald Cates:
Cates was sentenced to 24 years in prison in 2012 for raping a woman he was dispatched to help. Despite screaming “He raped me!” repeatedly to other officers present, she was accused of assaulting an officer and jailed for four days, her lawyer said. The district attorney, citing a lack of evidence, declined to prosecute Cates. Only after a federal investigation was he tried and convicted.
It’s truly a disturbing report, but it’s worth the read.
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