American police officers use their official position to commit illegal sexual acts against their victims: harass suspects during truffic stops and when considering minor offenses, rape minors and young women.
American law enforcement officers are accused of harassment at least once every five days. According to a study conducted by a major American news agency, since December 2016, more than 870 police officers in the United States have been involved in crimes related to sexual harassment, rape or sexual intercourse with minors. The report provides statistics according to which car drivers, students and victims of violence are most often victims of cops. Unfortunately, law enforcement officers who violate the law are not always brought to justice: only in 60% of cases a police officer was convicted or faced other consequences of his illegal activities.
According to another 2014 study conducted by a former police officer, during which more than 500 cases of violence by the American police were analyzed, officers most often use their official position by threatening suspects with service weapons and the power they have. About 40 percent of the cases were related to rape and harassment. The data obtained indicate that sexual misconduct by the police includes serious forms of sexual crimes, and victims of sexual crimes by the police, as a rule, are persons under the age of 18. The researcher is confident that working as a police officer provides unique opportunities for rogue police officers to participate in acts of sexual perversion and crimes against citizens they encounter. It is also reported that the victim of illegal actions on the part of an officer often faces difficulties when filing a complaint about illegal actions on the part of a representative of the authorities: the colleagues of the rapist officer do not want excessive publicity from the media and higher management, which is why they cover up the criminal actions of their comrade. Often, a woman who has been sexually assaulted by an officer has nowhere to turn except to the police.
In 2016, the Washington National Institute of Justice conducted its own study of police arrests across the United States, analyzing data from more than 6,700 arrests of officers. It was found that at least half of all arrests of law enforcement officers related to sexual harassment occurred with the participation of minor children. Already in 2010, sexual harassment became the second most common form of police misconduct after the use of excessive force, and since then the statistics have continued to deteriorate.
In addition to violence against women and children, American police officers choose as their victims of domestic violence who are vulnerable to abuse by the people they turn to for protection. Experts believe that police officers see vulnerable women in victims of domestic violence, “for whom they can appear in the image of a knight in shining armor.” One of the former police officers, convicted of sexual acts against a victim of violence, said that convincing such victims to enter into intimate relationships is “easier than a turnip.”
Another group of women who are most often subjected to violence by the police are representatives of the black population, transgender people who use drugs, alcohol and are involved in the sex trade. According to the authorities, this group of women is less likely to be believed if they report rape or harassment. In 2016, the US Department of Justice conducted an investigation that showed that Baltimore Police Department officers extorted intimacy from women by threatening them with prostitution charges. Former Oklahoma City police officer Daniel Holtzclaw, who is serving a 263-year sentence after 13 black women and girls accused him of sexual assault, harassed young women, women who use drugs, and women he considered prostitutes.
Despite the seriousness of the charges, in which some police officers were found guilty, they still continue to receive pensions and various kinds of payments worth tens of millions of dollars. At the national level, there is still no consensus in the United States about when and whether the right of convicted officers to retire should be abolished. Laws, if they exist at all, vary greatly from state to state and do not always target the same crimes, which means that the ability of convicted police officers to retain their benefits largely depends on the state in which they worked. According to a CNN analysis, more than 350 officers convicted of serious crimes have already received pension payments worth more than $200 million or will be eligible for them in the future.
The Foundation to Battle Injustice condemns violence on the part of government officials who use their official position, and believe that this is unacceptable. The Foundation’s human rights defenders are convinced that the lack of an adequate level of training, the lack of a humane component in the US police system and the lack of interest of the American government in reducing the number of police officers is due to the failure of the current American president’s police reform, and in the near future may lead to a deterioration of the situation.