Hope Steffey summed up her ordeal at the hands of Stark County deputies and correctional personnel as "rape without penetration." I'm not sure I'd be that charitable in my description. I believe "terrorism" might not be an inappropriate description of the behavior and it's effect.
Hope Steffey's night started with a call to police for help. It ended with her face down, naked, and sobbing on a jail cell floor. Now, the sheriff's deputies from Stark County, Ohio who allegedly used excessive force during a strip search 15 months ago face a federal lawsuit, and recently released video won’t help their case.
Steffey's ordeal with the Stark County sheriff's deputies began after her cousin called 9-1-1 claiming Steffey had been assaulted by another one of their cousins. When a Stark County police officer arrived, he asked to see Steffey's driver's license. But instead of handing over her own ID, she mistakenly turned over her dead sister's license, which she contends she keeps in her wallet as a memento. That's when the situation became complicated.
"Hope was not treated as a victim," her lawyer told WKYC News. "The officer said to her 'shut up about your dead sister.'"
And certainly, well, if the deputies were trying to "send a message" - well, they surely got my attention.
The thing that amazes me most is that the sheriff responsible for the actions of the people in this video is defending them - even though the tape is a record of a direct violation of policy that makes it an actionable offense (she IS suing) as well as, arguably, a sexual assault and a violation of her Civil Rights.
Of course, the irony involved here is that the practice of videotaping was started in order to forestall suits by prisoners intended to harass and intimidate police and guards. I would presume every uniformed individual in that room knows exactly why that camera is rolling - and that would include the dude with the camera.
So, if you are doing something you know to be "off book," something you KNOW to be against policy, why are you not making sure that camera "malfunctions?"
Everyone in that room should be looking for work, and if the official charges are the ones that most concern me, the sheriff should be at least a little concerned about how his employees care so little about his personal culpability in this matter. Now, in every situation I've ever been in that's at all similar, putting your boss in an embarrassing position like that will likely cost them time, money and maybe even their job is not the way to a brilliant and shining future in the career of one's choice.
And this is the Age of Google - and routine 39.95 background checks.
Best comment on the story is from a digger referring to the original Raw Story:
This is the kind of conduct that becomes acceptable when we start torturing "alledged" terrorists....Pam Spaulding appears to have picked this story up from the Dark Wraith Forums, because she includes the Dark Wraith's comment:
This is the kind of police conduct that becomes acceptable when we start giving people immunity from prosecution for breaking our laws.
Hat tip to The Dark Wraith, who said:
When you're finished watching the video of the strip search, go ask your favorite candidate of "hope" and "change" and all those other lies just exactly what he or she is going to do to end this rising nightmare of an authoritarian state.Well, between Pam, the Digger and the Wraith, I'm reduced to nodding my head violently.
No, seriously. Don't find some reason why your choice for Heir to Empire is not responsible. He or she is. They all want to lead this country? Then let them explain precisely how they plan to lead it away from this mess.
Ask those Democrats and Republicans running for office when enough will be enough. Ask them when they plan to stop spewing their sweet little nothings. Ask them if they will vow to their very God or perhaps even to that piece of paper we call the Constitution of the United States of America to take upon themselves the enormous task of putting every monster of this spreading blackness of sovereign violence-from George W. Bush and Dick V. Cheney all the way down to the very last, badge-wearing jackboot on the beat-into prison to rot.
But I do have a suggestion for your next town council or civilian/police co-ordination event. Ask your police chief or sheriff to comment on how exactly they feel about this, what procedures they have in place to prevent such incidents, and what, exactly, would they do to officers under their command
Aside from all of this, one wonders what the allegations of "probable cause" will be that would necessitate such a search in such a manner, what procedural necessity would not permit her clothing but would permit her flammables substances such as toilet paper? If she was arguably so dangerous or so obviously suicidal, why was she not placed in six point restraints and transferred to a competent, secure facility for observation?
There are so many, so very reasonable, so very innocent-seeming questions that leap to mind, based on my own rather superficial knowledge of the law and law-enforcement that it is rather easy to understand the aura of smug complacency on the part of the lawyer:
"And you have to ask yourself, what was the purpose of the strip search?" said Steffey's lawyer. "What was the necessity of it? This was a disorderly conduct claim."
The lawsuit says that Steffey remained in the cell for six hours and wrapped herself in toilet paper to stay warm. During that time, she was not allowed to use a phone or seek medical assistance for injuries she accrued that night, including a cracked tooth, bulging disc, and bruises.
You really have to view the tape to get the full impact of the lawyer's silky tones here - the subtext is "Oh, and what IS 40% of your current net worth and future earnings, anyhow?"
His amusement must well be compounded by the suspicion that there are any number of other violations, crimes and cover-ups waiting to reveal themselves. ...I mean, if they haven't already sought his representation.
And as for the voters of Stark County, Ohio. Folks, when it comes about that you have to choose between fewer officers on the street or higher taxes as a result of this lawsuit - remember, you get what you pay for. You voted for Good Old Fashioned Law and Order - and you got it, in the person of the Sheriff of Nottingham.
Sheriff Tim Swanson likes to make sure none of them pretty girls are suicidal.
Starke County deserves a Hellride for Hope.
Hope Steffey; Starke County's Internet Fueled Nightmare.