Police Union Fought Reforms To Address Sexual Assault by Officers

An examination of lobbying records shine a light on the behind-the-scenes clout of the Fraternal Order of Police.

Adeshina Emmanuel September 14, 2017

A Safe Passage sign is posted as police investigate a crime scene in the 4300 block of West Wilcox Street early Saturday, September. 2 in Chicago. (John J. Kim/Chicago Tribune/TNS via Getty Images)

On Fri­day, Chicago’s Civil­ian Office of Police Account­abil­i­ty (COPA) opens for busi­ness, with expand­ed pow­ers, more inves­ti­ga­tors and a big­ger case­load than its noto­ri­ous­ly inef­fec­tive pre­de­ces­sor, the Inde­pen­dent Police Review Author­i­ty. The ordi­nance that cre­at­ed COPA appoint­ed an inspec­tor gen­er­al for pub­lic safe­ty to audit its work and gave it broad­er juris­dic­tion to inves­ti­gate Taser dis­charges and civ­il rights com­plaints such as ille­gal search, false arrest and denial of counsel.

"It’s pretty common knowledge that the FOP really just doesn’t like the whole concept of civilian oversight.”

The two agen­cies aren’t as dif­fer­ent as crit­ics had want­ed; among oth­er things, the city-appoint­ed COPA falls short of the elect­ed over­sight body demand­ed by racial jus­tice groups after the Laquan McDon­ald scan­dal. Anoth­er reform that didn’t hap­pen was trans­fer­ring over­sight of rape inves­ti­ga­tions to COPA. Con­se­quent­ly, when a Chica­go police offi­cer is accused of rape, anoth­er Chica­go police offi­cer will still lead the inves­ti­ga­tion, despite objec­tions from sex­u­al assault advo­cates and law­mak­ers inter­viewed by In These Times.

IPRA Chief Sharon Fair­ley, who will head COPA as well, says that grant­i­ng an inde­pen­dent agency juris­dic­tion over the cas­es could address con­cerns about biased inves­ti­ga­tions and encour­age more vic­tims of police sex­u­al vio­lence to come forward.

There are peo­ple who would feel more com­fort­able shar­ing their con­cerns, their com­plaints, with some­body who is not star­ing across the desk with a badge and a gun,” she says.

Either the city or state could pass a mea­sure to cre­ate inde­pen­dent over­sight of sex­u­al abuse cas­es. But any such attempt would run into a major road­block: The Fra­ter­nal Order of Police. Ear­li­er this year, the police union flexed its polit­i­cal clout in the state­house to water down House Bill 270, the Law Enforce­ment Sex­u­al Assault Inves­ti­ga­tion Act. The bill, intro­duced in Decem­ber 2016, by state Rep. Lite­sa Wal­lace (D‑Rockford), stip­u­lat­ed, among oth­er mea­sures, that an inde­pen­dent agency have juris­dic­tion over police-involved sex­u­al assault cas­es. (Last week, Wal­lace joined State Sen. Daniel Biss’ gube­na­to­r­i­al cam­paign as his pick for lieu­tenant governor).

The FOP was the loud­est voice in oppo­si­tion to the bill, accord­ing to an In These Times review of both Illi­nois Gen­er­al Assem­bly records and state lob­by­ist dis­clo­sures. These records show the FOP’s Chica­go and Illi­nois lodges employ pow­er­ful lob­by­ists with strong polit­i­cal ties who descend­ed on Spring­field to push back against the law. Wal­lace says police union oppo­si­tion prompt­ed amend­ments to the bill that exclude the Chica­go Police Depart­ment and Illi­nois State Police from the inde­pen­dent inves­ti­ga­tion requirement.

With the amend­ments, the law passed both the House and Sen­ate and was sent to Gov. Bruce Rauner ® to sign on August 4. The governor’s office hasn’t respond­ed to ques­tions about whether he will sign it or not. Either way, the state’s largest, and arguably most trou­ble­some, police depart­ment in Illi­nois won’t have to abide by one of the bill’s core elements.

In Jan­u­ary, a 13-month Depart­ment of Jus­tice probe of the Chica­go Police Depart­ment found a num­ber of fac­tors impede effec­tive inves­ti­ga­tions of police mis­con­duct. Among them were bias by inves­ti­ga­tors and a lack of spe­cif­ic train­ing for inves­ti­ga­tors when police are accused of sex­u­al assault or domes­tic vio­lence and inter­nal affairs clos­ing admin­is­tra­tive cas­es due to lack of evi­dence for crim­i­nal charges. How­ev­er evi­dence stan­dards for admin­is­tra­tive cas­es are low­er than in crim­i­nal probes.

Sev­er­al Chica­go police are cur­rent­ly under inves­ti­ga­tion for alleged sex­u­al assault, such as Eugene Cia­r­dul­lo, accused of hav­ing sex­u­al con­tact with a stu­dent at the high school where he moon­light­ed as a secu­ri­ty guard. Oth­er high-pro­file cas­es in the past decade include for­mer CPD offi­cer Allen Hall, con­vict­ed in 2014 of sex­u­al­ly assault­ing his adult niece years ago when she was a child and for molest­ing her tod­dler daugh­ter in 2013— months after department’s inter­nal affairs divi­sion threw out anoth­er sex­u­al assault com­plaint against him because his alleged vic­tim wouldn’t sign a sworn affidavit.

In 2011, Offi­cers Paul Clav­i­jo and Juan Vasquez were charged with crim­i­nal sex­u­al assaults of women they picked up at night in the Lake­view neigh­bor­hood and gave rides home in their squad car. They plead guilty to offi­cial mis­con­duct as part of a deal with pros­e­cu­tors. In a civ­il suit filed by one of the women, her lawyers argued: Chica­go police offi­cers accused of sex­u­al mis­con­duct against cit­i­zens can be con­fi­dent that the city will not inves­ti­gate those accu­sa­tions in earnest,” accord­ing to the suit.

In 2010, CPD offi­cer Robert Wat­son was accused of sex­u­al­ly assault­ing an intox­i­cat­ed woman he offered a ride home on the South Side. The case result­ed in sus­pen­sions for Wat­son and his part­ner, Jerome Starks, who was with him dur­ing the alleged assault— and a $400,000 set­tle­ment—but an inter­nal inves­ti­ga­tion cleared Wat­son of any sex­u­al misconduct.

In These Times sent sev­er­al emails and made sev­er­al calls to FOP Pres­i­dent Kevin Gra­ham, Sec­ond Vice Pres­i­dent Mar­tin Preib and lob­by­ists work­ing on behalf of the FOP seek­ing com­ment for this sto­ry, but received no response.

Wallace’s claims of oppo­si­tion from police unions are val­i­dat­ed by Illi­nois Gen­er­al Assem­bly records that show the Illi­nois FOP, the Illi­nois FOP Labor Coun­cil, the Illi­nois Troop­er #41 FOP lodge and the Chica­go lodge of the FOP, the nation’s largest local FOP chap­ter, all voiced oppo­si­tion to the Law Enforce­ment Sex­u­al Assault Inves­ti­ga­tion Act.

State Sen. Patri­cia Van Pelt (D‑5th), of Chica­go, addressed the FOP’s oppo­si­tion to the bill in a state­ment, that read in part: It’s not sur­pris­ing that the FOP tends to oppose mea­sures that would hold law enforce­ment offi­cers account­able for inci­dences of misconduct.”

State Rep. La Shawn K. Ford (D‑8th) of Chica­go described the bill as a mat­ter of pub­lic safety.

I urge the Gov­er­nor to sign the bill to make it the law of the land in Illi­nois. The pow­er of the Police in our coun­try can pro­tect cit­i­zens or it can destroy cit­i­zens lives,” says Ford. His­to­ry teach­es us that absolute pow­er can cor­rupt absolute­ly. If this bill becomes law it will add a new sys­tem of pro­tec­tion for cit­i­zens and a new deter­rent for police misconduct.”

Ford has had his own run-ins with the police union. Last year, Ford’s efforts to pass a bill pro­hibit­ing the destruc­tion of police dis­ci­pli­nary records also ran into oppo­si­tion from the FOP.

Shield­ing Depart­ments Against Reform

Police unions have a his­to­ry of shield­ing depart­ments from reform — whether that’s through con­tro­ver­sial con­tracts that hin­der fed­er­al efforts to address civ­il rights abus­es at local police depart­ments and keep mis­con­duct in the shad­ows, or through state laws that obstruct inves­ti­ga­tions into police mis­con­duct. In Chica­go the FOP lodge has a his­to­ry of bristling at civil­ian over­sight and dis­cred­it­ing the legit­i­ma­cy of both IPRA and its suc­ces­sor COPA.

Crit­ics of Chicago’s police union often point to its con­tracts as a prime exam­ple of how the FOP stands in the way of reform. For exam­ple, one of the contract’s cur­rent pro­vi­sions requires a civil­ian who files com­plaints against police to sign a sworn affi­davit under threat of per­jury. The FOP says this helps dis­cour­age false com­plaints, but reform advo­cates argue that it dis­cour­ages vic­tims of police abuse, includ­ing sex­u­al assault sur­vivors, from com­ing forward.

Fair­ley wouldn’t put her­self in the minds of leg­is­la­tors who decid­ed to exempt Chica­go police­men from the require­ment for inde­pen­dent police sex­u­al assault cas­es, say­ing she lacked first­hand knowl­edge of the FOP’s role. But I will say,” she offers, that it’s pret­ty com­mon knowl­edge that the FOP real­ly just doesn’t like the whole con­cept of civil­ian oversight.”

As bills are intro­duced and pass through com­mit­tee hear­ings on their way to votes in the Illi­nois leg­is­la­ture, mem­bers of the pub­lic have the oppor­tu­ni­ty to file what are known as wit­ness slips‑ — filed either on their own behalf or on behalf of orga­ni­za­tions — to doc­u­ment their posi­tion on the bill.

Look­ing at five House com­mit­tee hear­ings held from Feb­ru­ary 8 to March 21, in the ear­ly stages of the bill, police unions were vir­tu­al­ly alone in fil­ing wit­ness slips in oppo­si­tion. Of 117 indi­vid­u­als who filed wit­ness slips at the first hear­ing, the over­whelm­ing major­i­ty that sup­port­ed it includ­ed the Illi­nois State’s Attor­ney’s Asso­ci­a­tion, the Illi­nois chap­ter of the Nation­al Asso­ci­a­tion of Social Work­ers and Cook Coun­ty Sheriff’s Office.

Only five slips at that first hear­ing were in filed in oppo­si­tion. Of those five, all but one were lob­by­ists work­ing on behalf of an FOP lodge.

Wal­lace says she grew con­cerned that back­lash from police unions would kill the bill and sti­fle a need­ed con­ver­sa­tion about polic­ing and sex­u­al vio­lence. On March 24, she filed an amend­ment to exclude the state police and cities with pop­u­la­tions more than 1 mil­lion — in oth­er words, Chica­go. No oth­er Illi­nois city comes close to that size.

The amend­ment passed a March 29 vote. But on April 21, Wal­lace had a change of heart.

I felt it was impor­tant to try to make sure that [the bill include] the largest law enforce­ment agency in our state, and one that has a depart­ment of jus­tice report that exam­ines the fact that they could do far bet­ter in inves­ti­gat­ing alle­ga­tions of abuse of pow­er,” Wal­lace says. That is why I ini­tial­ly want­ed to make sure Chica­go was includ­ed to the fullest extent.”

She filed an amend­ment that put Chica­go back under the inde­pen­dent inves­ti­ga­tion require­ment (but left the state police exemp­tion in place). The com­mit­tee adopt­ed the amend­ment unan­i­mous­ly, and on April 27, the bill passed the House 112 – 1, with the only nay vote com­ing from Army vet­er­an Rep. Daniel Swan­son (R‑74th Dis­trict) a con­ser­v­a­tive elect­ed in 2016 whose cam­paign web­site char­ac­ter­izes him a pro-life, card-hold­ing mem­ber of the NRA who believes mar­riage should only be between a man and a woman.

When the law arrived in the Illi­nois Sen­ate on May 2, the chief spon­sor was Sen. Steve Stadel­man (D‑34th Dis­trict). Wal­lace says she met with research staff, Sen. Stadel­man and Sen­ate Pres­i­dent John Culler­ton (D), to try to fig­ure out how to pass some­thing that is in the best inter­est of the state that could also get passed into law. So on May 29, Stadel­man filed a Sen­ate amend­ment that again struck Chica­go from the require­ment of an inde­pen­dent inves­ti­ga­tion. The bill passed the sen­ate 51 – 0, and the House approved the rule changes. The law went to Rauner August 4.

FOP: Over­sight Hurts Police Morale”

Wit­ness slips aren’t the only way police unions pushed back against reform. Lob­by­ing records shine addi­tion­al light on the FOP’s behind-the-scenes clout.

The Illi­nois Lob­by­ist Reg­is­tra­tion Act doesn’t require state lob­by­ists to file reports about how much they are com­pen­sat­ed for their efforts, but it does require them to dis­close mon­ey spent while lob­by­ing offi­cials. One of the lob­by­ists reg­is­tered on behalf of the Chica­go FOP in 2017, Rauc­ci & Sul­li­van Strate­gies, spent $9,353 on meals and pri­vate par­ties with politi­cians between Jan­u­ary and June, lob­by­ing them for var­i­ous issues on behalf of clients like ener­gy giant Comed, trans­porta­tion agency Metra, the Illi­nois Bankers Asso­ci­a­tion, among oth­ers, includ­ing the FOP’s Chica­go lodge. Records show part­ner Dave Sul­li­van, a for­mer Repub­li­can Illi­nois State Sen­a­tor, shared meals with more than 30 state rep­re­sen­ta­tives and state sen­a­tors. Sul­li­van also orga­nized sev­er­al pri­vate affairs with elect­ed offi­cials, includ­ing a May 24 shrimp boil and a May 29 end of ses­sion par­ty” where 60 offi­cials were expect­ed to attend.

Sul­li­van was among those who filed wit­ness slips against the bill for the FOP.

He met with Rep. Kel­ly Cas­sidy (D), vice-chair­man of the House Judi­cia­ry-Crim­i­nal Com­mit­tee, on Jan. 11, Feb. 22, March 22, May 18, and June 28 at var­i­ous Spring­field restau­rants, includ­ing Augie’s Front Burn­er and Maldaner’s Restau­rant. The sub­ject mat­ter of the meet­ings are list­ed as good­will” but there’s no spe­cif­ic ref­er­ence to any legislation.

Cas­sidy told In These Times in an email state­ment, I was not engaged in the nego­ti­a­tions on the bill and do not recall ever dis­cussing this piece of leg­is­la­tion with Mr. Sul­li­van.” The chair­man of the com­mit­tee, Rep. Elgie R. Simms, Jr. (D), did not return calls for com­ment about the nego­ti­a­tions around HB 270.

Accord­ing to Wal­lace, part of the FOP’s argu­ment against over­sight was police morale.” Good offi­cers might resent addi­tion­al account­abil­i­ty mea­sures, giv­en the nation­al con­ver­sa­tions around trust and mis­trust of law enforce­ment agents.

Wal­lace, the daugh­ter of a retired law enforce­ment agent, says she finds argu­ments like that hard to swal­low. I don’t think that pro­tec­tions for the pub­lic or over­sight and account­abil­i­ty are attacks on police offi­cers,” she says. I think they’re actu­al­ly quite the oppo­site; it makes our law enforce­ment greater, stronger, a lit­tle more com­pas­sion­ate, and hope­ful­ly it brings out prin­ci­pled part of the force which then helps elim­i­nate oth­ers bad behav­ior and helps set a stan­dard the pub­lic wants to see.”

What kind of police do you call on the police?”

Wal­lace says that while the police reform fight in Chica­go weighed heav­i­ly on her mind as she draft­ed the leg­is­la­tion, her ini­tial inspi­ra­tion was the Daniel Holtz­claw case in Oklahoma.

The nation­al con­ver­sa­tion around police abuse of pow­er, espe­cial­ly in the media, is usu­al­ly cen­tered on the expe­ri­ences of black and brown men beat or shot by police. But Holtzclaw’s case brought anoth­er set of vic­tims to light.

In Jan­u­ary 2016, the for­mer Okla­homa cop was sen­tenced to 263 years in prison for prey­ing on black women and girls while on patrol. He tar­get­ed low-income women, women with rap sheets or women who he picked up on sus­pi­cion of com­mit­ting crimes like drug pos­ses­sion and prostitution.

His youngest vic­tim was 17. She tes­ti­fied that in June 2014, she was walk­ing home one night when Holtz­claw stopped her and drove her home, where he led her to the porch of her house and searched her, sup­pos­ed­ly for drugs. He groped her, pulled her pink shorts down and raped her. Her DNA was found on the inside of his uni­form trousers.

Dur­ing her tes­ti­mo­ny she asked, What kind of police do you call on the police?” The line stuck with Wal­lace, and raised a ques­tion for her, Are we empow­er­ing peo­ple to be able to report this par­tic­u­lar abuse of power?”

That was the impe­tus for her seek­ing to ensure that sur­vivors have an inde­pen­dent enti­ty — an insti­tu­tion oth­er than the one whose employ­ee might have com­mit­ted the offense — to han­dle rape investigations.

Pol­ly Poskin, exec­u­tive direc­tor of the Illi­nois Coali­tion Against Sex­u­al Assault (ICASA), has sup­port­ed the bill since its ear­ly days, and filed three wit­ness slips in sup­port. Poskin praised Wal­lace as a for­ward-think­ing law­mak­er, cast­ing her bill as part of the long term bat­tle to try to awak­en both the insti­tu­tions and the gen­er­al pub­lic that sex­u­al abuse of women is hideous­ly unac­knowl­edged and respond­ed to in a way that does not sup­port the vic­tim com­ing forward.”

What’s crit­i­cal to ICASA, she says, is that when peo­ple in posi­tions of pow­er com­mit sex­u­al assault, there are inde­pen­dent inves­ti­ga­tions into their crimes. Police have a lot of pow­er and author­i­ty to deter­mine if there’s prob­a­ble cause,” Poskin says. I think there can be a ten­den­cy among some offi­cers in some juris­dic­tions to pro­tect oth­er officers.”

Poskin says that police in Chica­go should­n’t be held to a dif­fer­ent stan­dard than police in any oth­er city in Illi­nois, and nei­ther should the Illi­nois State Police. That Chica­go is exempt­ed, how­ev­er, reflects the pow­er of the FOP: They were able to exert will against it and pre­vail,” she says.

What should be looked at is: What is the best pub­lic pol­i­cy to apply across the board…regardless of the pop­u­la­tion of the city?’ “ she says. We think it’s mis­guid­ed by the police union to request and actu­al­ly secure the exemp­tion for the CPD.”

Last year, city offi­cials did raise the prospect of estab­lish­ing inde­pen­dent inves­ti­ga­tions into police sex­u­al assault alle­ga­tions amid dis­cus­sions about what agency should replace IPRA.

Chica­go Ald. Car­los Ramirez-Rosa was one of the co-spon­sors of a rival ordi­nance that would have estab­lished the Civil­ian Police Account­abil­i­ty Coun­cil, which was a rad­i­cal­ly dif­fer­ent idea than COPA. He says CPAC is the prod­uct of a grass­roots move­ment that traces its gen­e­sis back to the Black Pan­thers, and the demands made by the group for com­mu­ni­ty con­trol of the police.

CPAC would have been gov­erned by demo­c­ra­t­i­cal­ly elect­ed offi­cials. It would have had pow­er to select a super­in­ten­dent of police, and the author­i­ty to review and sign off on all new CPD poli­cies. CPAC also would have had the pow­er to nego­ti­ate and approve police union con­tracts, and would con­duct inves­ti­ga­tions into mis­con­duct — with juris­dic­tion over sex­u­al assault cases.

And even though the Chica­go Alliance Against Racism and Polit­i­cal Repres­sion has led a mul­ti-year cam­paign demand­ing com­mu­ni­ty con­trol of the police depart­ment, CPAC nev­er gained enough sup­port at City Hall or the May­or’s Office.

We’ve been work­ing at a grass­roots lev­el to push for this ordi­nance since then, but giv­en the strength of the police union lob­by, and giv­en the fears that man lot of alder­man have around these issues, it’s been a slow mov­ing effort despite the fact that at the grass­roots lev­el there’s over­whelm­ing sup­port for CPAC,” says Ramirez-Rosa, adding that more than 50,000 Chicagoans have signed on in sup­port of CPAC.

In These Times asked Chica­go May­or Rahm Emanuel’s office about its stance on HB270 and Chicago’s exclu­sion from the inde­pen­dent inves­ti­ga­tion require­ment. We also asked why inter­nal affairs han­dles alleged police sex­u­al assault, and how the city felt about the idea of grant­i­ng COPA juris­dic­tion over the cas­es. Despite repeat­ed inquiries, may­oral spokesper­son Juli­enn Kaviar would not offer spe­cif­ic answers to any of those ques­tions. She did for­ward a state­ment that empha­sized the city’s efforts to effec­tive­ly han­dle police sex­u­al assault cas­es. Start­ing June 1, new police recruits will under­go a new six-hour train­ing block about han­dling reports of sex­u­al assault, as stip­u­lat­ed in the recent­ly passed Sex­u­al Assault Inci­dent Pro­ce­dures Act. The state­ment read:

Crim­i­nal con­duct is crim­i­nal — whether on-duty or off. We believe that Chica­go res­i­dents deserve thought­ful, trained and sub­stan­ti­at­ed inves­ti­ga­tions into all crim­i­nal alle­ga­tions, and under­stand the spe­cial­ized care and train­ing nec­es­sary to con­duct thor­ough inves­ti­ga­tions into sex­u­al assault. … As part of reform efforts, the Police Depart­ment is work­ing hard to rebuild the lines of com­mu­ni­ca­tions and trust with res­i­dents and this year, the Depart­ment has imple­ment­ed new train­ing require­ments for all new recruits around sex­u­al assault inves­ti­ga­tions and report­ing procedures.

Where there is an alle­ga­tion against a police offi­cers, in addi­tion to the spe­cial­ly trained Detec­tives that con­duct the crim­i­nal inves­ti­ga­tion, the Bureau of Inter­nal Affairs con­duct a par­al­lel admin­is­tra­tive inves­ti­ga­tion in col­lab­o­ra­tion with the Pub­lic Integri­ty Sec­tion of the State’s Attor­ney’s Office. In every case, inves­ti­ga­tion find­ings are pre­sent­ed for an inde­pen­dent pros­e­cu­to­r­i­al review.

But the state­ment still does­n’t tack­le the con­cerns about biased inves­ti­ga­tions. Detec­tives and inter­nal affairs inves­ti­ga­tors remain Chica­go police.

The sym­bi­ot­ic rela­tion­ship between cops and pros­e­cu­tors is viewed skep­ti­cal­ly by many police reform advo­cates, who high­light it as one of the rea­sons why so few cops do hard time for bru­tal­iz­ing citizens.

Indeed, the #ByeAni­ta cam­paign that oust­ed for­mer Cook Coun­ty State’s Attor­ney Ani­ta Alvarez blast­ed the pros­e­cu­tor for her mis­han­dling of police mis­con­duct cas­es, includ­ing her failed pros­e­cu­tion of Detec­tive Dante Servin, who shot Rekia Boyd to death in 2012. Alvarez lost her post to chal­lenger Kim Foxx in a land­slide defeat last year. Alvarez crit­ics also impli­cat­ed her in the alleged coverup of the Laquan McDon­ald shoot­ing. It took her office 13 months to bring charges against offi­cer Jason Van Dyke, who was caught on cam­era fir­ing a vol­ley into the teen as he walked away from police.

Wal­lace acknowl­edges that pros­e­cu­tors and judges also have a role to play in help­ing ensure police are held account­able, and that even inde­pen­dent” agen­cies can be inde­pen­dent in name only. But she feels that HB 270, if the gov­er­nor signs it, is a good first step toward rid­ding police sex­u­al assault inves­ti­ga­tions of bias.

She cast her efforts as a con­tin­u­a­tion of work oth­er black women have done to address sex­u­al vio­lence and ensure that sur­vivors, espe­cial­ly from vul­ner­a­ble com­mu­ni­ties, are not silenced.

One of the pieces of the his­to­ry of Rosa Parks we don’t talk about is that she was indeed a sex­u­al assault advo­cate; she advo­cat­ed for most­ly black women who had been assault­ed by white men and they weren’t giv­en any jus­tice,” Wal­lace says. Peo­ple were not tak­ing the com­plaints, peo­ple did not fol­low through on try­ing to pros­e­cute those individuals.”

She believes that the expe­ri­ences of women and the LGBT com­mu­ni­ty, and of sex­u­al assault sur­vivors, are often ren­dered invis­i­ble in con­ver­sa­tions around police abuse of pow­er — and that has to change.

I’ve been look­ing at this per­spec­tive obvi­ous­ly, as a woman, as a woman of col­or, as a woman who has strug­gled eco­nom­i­cal­ly; that’s the typ­i­cal pro­file of the indi­vid­u­als who become vic­tims of this type of police mis­con­duct or police abuse of pow­er,” she says. I think this law helps move the con­ver­sa­tion in a direc­tion we have not gone in.”

Police mis­con­duct attor­ney and orga­niz­er Andrea Ritchie recent­ly pub­lished a book, Invis­i­ble No More, that makes a sim­i­lar point: Sex­u­al vio­lence against women in the police reform debate. She tells In These Times, The focus by jour­nal­ists on police shoot­ings of unarmed peo­ple as kind of the stan­dard of what is police vio­lence’ leaves out a lot of women who are expe­ri­enc­ing police vio­lence — includ­ing sex­u­al violence.”

This report­ing was sup­port­ed by a grant from the Leonard C. Good­man Insti­tute for Inves­tiga­tive Reporting.

Adeshi­na Emmanuel is an edi­tor at Injus­tice Watch, a non­prof­it jour­nal­is­tic research orga­ni­za­tion ded­i­cat­ed to expos­ing insti­tu­tion­al fail­ures that obstruct jus­tice and equal­i­ty. He is a for­mer reporter for DNAin­fo Chica­go, the Chica­go Sun-Times, the Chica­go Reporter and Chalkbeat.
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