Sacramento, CA (Law Firm Newswire) August 12, 2015 - Lately, the media has been full of news detailing stories of law enforcement using excessive violence with African Americans. Aside from racial profiling, is sexual harassment also a part of some of these confrontations?
“The video of the McKinney, Texas, pool party was a particularly disturbing incident,” said respected sexual harassment attorney, Deborah Barron of the Barron Law Corporation in Sacramento, California. “Here is an adult police officer shackling, yelling at and straddling a 15-year-old unarmed, crying teen in a swimsuit who had nothing to do with the initial disturbance that resulted in the police being called.”
That particular video has been viral for some time, and in addition to discussion about racial profiling and excessive force by the police, it has also fuelled discussion about sexual harassment and assault across the nation. What defines it? Who may be guilty of it? What are the consequences? Are those in positions of power properly trained about such delicate and divisive issues?
The Corporal Casebolt Texas video created a firestorm of controversy over a police officer rolling a teenage girl across a lawn, grabbing the girl by her hair, wrestling her to the ground, kneeing her in the back while riding her prone form. He was expending all his force into getting the teenager to submit against her will.
Many groups of color pointed out that the events recorded in the video are the visual reality and enactment of physical and sexual harassment faced by African American girls and women at the hands of law enforcement. There are often subtle undercurrents of sexual harassment present in stop and frisk and detainment procedures.
The reaction to the Texas pool party video closely parallels that of the reaction to the beating a California woman sustained at the hands of a highway patrol officer. “Patrolman Daniel Andrew repeatedly punched Marlene Pinnock while at the side of busy well-travelled road. The clip shows him ripping her top, exposing her torso and bra. Numerous witnesses filmed the encounter. She later reached a settlement, but the officer was never charged and the inherent sexual harassment was never mentioned,” said Barron.
Cato Institute statistics reveal in their 2010 report that over nine percent of reported police misconduct falls into the sexual assault category, coming in second to the use of excessive force. There may be more to the mere speculation that sexual harassment is part and parcel of interactions of law enforcement with women of color.
“If you find yourself in a similar situation, do not hesitate to call my office,” said Barron. “You need to know your legal rights and what may be done about any violations of those rights.”
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