Police Brutalize Woman

“That could be your wife.  That could be anybody’s wife.” – Steffey’s husband.  Via Crooks and Liars (warning: very disturbing):

Raw Story:

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.

The Sheriff insists all of this was done “for her own safety”.

When asked “What did she say” by Chanel 3 News, her husband replied: “She said she felt like she was raped without penetration”.

Take a moment and read through some of the comments left over at Crooks and Liars.  The overwhelming response is one of expectation, not surprise, and disgust in abuse of power by the police.

The “trigger” that caused the police to strip search her was a simple question (transcription):

Eventually Steffey is handcuffed and hauled away to the Stark County jail to answer questions.   Among them: “Do you have any weapons or sharp objects?”, “Have you ever thought of harming yourself?”.  When Steffey responds, “Now or Ever?”, she says deputies knock her down, and place her feet in a pretzel position.

One of the clear lessons learned growing up in America, is you do not mess with the police.  When they ask a question, especially if you are unfortunate enough to be in a position where they hold any kind of power over you, you answer truthfully.  What was the right answer?  The one where she wouldn’t be assaulted upon giving it?

A woman called 911 for help, was treated like a criminal, and assaulted.  This wasn’t simply a case of excessive force.  It was a serious abuse of power and an assault.  It was a crime.


10 Responses

  1. Don’t ya hate it when they drain the Rubicon?

  2. You’re surprised by this? It happens every day. It happened to me once. The only thing different about this is people are seeing the video. This is not a news story. Get over yourself.

  3. No, I am not surprised by this.

    But not a news story? The fact that this happens every day makes it one of the most important news stories out there.
    That was kinda my point. That the immediate reaction to something like this on the part of the media was “shocking!”, and on the part of ordinary people commenting on the story was “we expect this from the police”. Something is horribly wrong with our country, to be at this point. Pandagon has taken to posting frequent stories about abuse of tasers (sometimes leading to death).

    The police in this country have way too much fucking power, and there is insufficient oversight by the people.

    I am making a big deal about this because I don’t want another crime like this to slip through the cracks of our national attention without the recognition of the grave systemic problem it poses for all of us.

  4. Sorry, my last comment was a bit too abrasive, I didn’t mean to take it out on you. My problem is that I feel we are powerless, individually and collectively. Stuff like this only reinforces those feelings.

  5. It’s a pigs nature to be a pig, Dont be surprised when pigs love rolling in shit. This type of thing is why i fear big government, and trying to have gun control. Because i guarantee when it’s the federal government doing this it’s a million times worse. We already know what our government does is despicable, I cant imagine what we dont know.

  6. heres part 2

  7. Seriously disturbing. It’s pathetic, hearing the police trying to deny anything they can to absolve themselves of any wrongdoing.

    It’s like, “Did we tell her to shut up about her dead sister? Nope! Not us! As a matter of fact, we went that extra-special mile to calm her down, to make her feel welcome. But when she wouldn’t drink our Chamomile tea, well, you see, she forced us into implementing our Plan B and … no further comments! And don’t forget, we police are the true victims here … the victims of our own gosh-be-darned policy! So there!”

    Whatever they try to deny, pales in comparison to what they actually did.

  8. amy,
    Thats completely alright. This is rightly a very sensitive subject.
    I don’t believe we are totally powerless. Every story like this shared
    is one that engrages people. The woman who was brutalized made a conscious decision to air the tape on television, and I believe it was the right decision. In that single act, she has made a difference. A story like this will spread like wildfire.

    Thanks for the link. This thing is all over youtube now.
    I wouldn’t single out all officers for this. But this is a systemic issue, and there are bound to be instances we haven’t heard about. And that is pretty fucking chilling.

    The video really does speak for itself, and it speaks louder than their denials.

  9. […] there seems to be a spate of such abuse, from the highly disturbing to the […]

  10. […] Posted on February 18, 2008 by Dan (Fitness) WKYC-TV exerted a copyright claim on the video I posted a link to (hat tip).  You can still find it here, here and here (for the moment).  The question […]

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