Revenge Porn in Puyallup

While legal scholars focus on creating new crimes to combat revenge porn, police officers in Puyallup, Washington may be busy making some of their own from women arrested for drunk driving.  Via Gawker:

Almost two dozen women have come forward with complaints about being forced to strip naked in a Washington police station after being arrested for DUI, and then videotaped by police officers.

The women were brought to a holding cell in Puyallup, Washington, where they were told to strip naked before being given jail clothes. Unbeknownst to them, their jailers were watching them strip through a video camera.

No doubt the local elders were outraged to hear of how this was happening to the wives, the daughters of their citizens. Well, not exactly.

The City of Puyallup has defended the practice and says that such filming practices are standard in jails…

Before addressing the substantive point, it’s worthwhile to note the use of the rhetorical device of “standard practice,” as if that wipes the slate clean of this outrageous conduct.  Whether this suggests that the City Council enjoys the video tapes later (yes, I know there is nothing to suggest any such thing, but as long as they’re going to leap to baseless rhetoric, so am I) or they just defer to such blanket nonsense when the police chief pats the dopes on the head and explains, “that’s how such things are done,” is unsaid.  Even if true, good people would scream “so what, this isn’t how we do things here.”  Nobody in Puyallup said that.

But it’s not standard practice. That’s just crap:

…but law enforcement experts disagree that it’s common for an inmate to be videotaped while undressing.

It is not standard practice for women to be forced to strip in front of men. It is not standard practice to videotape women naked in police stations. It’s not that this may not happen, but when it does, it is absolutely, totally wrong.  And it is not standard practice.

Lest anyone think that it’s not such a big deal to require a person to change into “prison garb” after an arrest, don’t be fooled. From Salon:

“They had originally told me to change behind a curtain in a designated area. But when I questioned them, it’s like they took it as insubordination instead of me simply asking a question,” said another woman. “And they sent me into this holding cell to change instead.”

“They asked me, ‘Is that everything? I told them, well, I still had my undergarments on. And they said I needed to take off everything. … And then I was shown the videos, and it was absolutely horrifying and embarrassing,” the woman said. “Honestly, it’s embarrassing, I feel violated.”

There Is obviously no need to remove one’s undergarments to change from street clothes to a jumpsuit. Unless it spoils the video.  Of course, it still fails to explain why there would be any need for women to change at a police station upon arrest. The process is to bring the person before a judge for arraignment and bail, not to take videos of her naked while preparing her for prison with appropriate attire.

If Wikipedia is to be believed, Puyallup, Washington isn’t much of a city:

Puyallup, Washington is a city in Pierce County, Washington, about five miles east of Tacoma. The population was 37,022 at the 2010 Census and the Washington State Office of Financial Management estimated the 2012 population at 37,620. Wikipedia

  • Area: 12.2 sq miles (31.6 km²)
  • Weather: 43°F (6°C), Wind N at 0 mph (0 km/h), 97% Humidity
  • Population: 38,147 (2012)
  • Unemployment rate: 7.5% (Jul 2013)

This isn’t exactly a cold, huge, impersonal place, where neither the police nor the city officials see human beings rather than bodies. How is it possible they not only do this to their own, but defend it?

We’ve seen road-side strip searches and forced strip searches by male police officers before, but neither on the scale being performed here, nor videotaped for amusement, nor being passed off as not only acceptable to the police, but embraced as standard practice by those who are putatively in a position to stop the cops from harming their wives and daughters. Yet, it’s fine in Puyallup.

What are the chances there will be an outcry, a scholarly excoriation of the police, a dissertation on the law to explain what really needs no explanation, from the scholars who hope to be media darlings?  Should I hold my breath, or are they too busy battling their own demons to worry about the women of Puyallup?

 

16 comments on “Revenge Porn in Puyallup

  1. BL1Y

    Whatever happened to giving your female prisoners a beautiful gown and asking them to change behind a partition where you can secretly see them through clever placement of a mirror?

    Oh, right. Kingdom of the Crystal Skull happened. This is all George Lucas’s fault, he ruins everything.

  2. Wheeze The People™

    Wait a minute . . . A constant flow of hot, drunk, and naked women!?? Cameras?!? Sounds like a recipe for excited delirium under the color of law – pretty standard, really . . . It makes my nightstick shiver just thinkin’ about it . . . In Puyallup, it’s called a perk, not a problem. At least, that’s what the fox says . . . Ring-ding-ding-ding-dingeringeding! Gering-ding-ding-ding-dingeringeding! Gering-ding-ding-ding-dingeringeding! Wa-pa-pa-pa-pa-pa-pow! Wa-pa-pa-pa-pa-pa-pow! Wa-pa-pa-pa-pa-pa-pow! Hatee-hatee-hatee-ho! Hatee-hatee-hatee-ho! Hatee-hatee-hatee-ho! . . .

      1. Wheeze The People™

        I like my donuts whole. I eat ‘em in one bite!! I smell LEO of the Year Award on the horizon . . . It smells like . . . victory . . .

  3. REvers

    This may say more about the cops than you would think. Specifically, it might speak to their tastes in women.

    In 26 years of practicing law, I’ve probably had less than ten clients I would be interested in seeing naked. Chained Heat may be one of the greatest movies ever made, but the women you tend to see in jails just don’t look like they do in the movie.

    I suppose meth sores and tattoos can be sexy to the right kind of guy. To each his own.

    1. Wheeze The People™

      There you go again — you had to get me all hot and bothered this morning by bringing up meth sores!! Oh là là là là . . . là là . . . .

  4. Bruce Coulson

    Because, even at its comparitively small size, the police and city officials don’t consider themselves part of the community. There are the citizens; and then there are the police and city officials. None of these incidents involved family members of police or city officials, so it wasn’t that important.

    And refusal to acknowledge any responsibility or guilt is SOP for governments (and most other people) these days.

    1. SHG Post author

      And do they shoot gamma rays into the heads of mere citizens? Every post is not an opportunity to spew. It’s okay if you have nothing substantive to add. No really, it is.

  5. Ultraviolet admin

    Eh in 20ish years when Puyallup is New Pompeii, we won’t have to worry about this.

    Honestly, anyone in the Puyallup valley is of questionable intelligence, they built their homes on a Lahar flow for Mount Rainer, which is expected to have a major eruption within the next 20ish years. In places the Lahar is over 200 feet thick. And so when the next eruption happens, and another Lahar comes down…

    1. SHG Post author

      It doesn’t strike me as terribly unreasonable for the women of Puyallup to prefer not to wait another 20ish years for this to stop.

      1. Ultraviolet admin

        Indeed, it is not. I’m just mentioning the folks who are working as police this town have already questionable sanity.

          1. Ultraviolet admin

            Because in ten thousand years when a new civilization arises from the ashes of what ever doom you feels is coming (Yellowstone, Obamacare, NSA, Corn Syrup), these yahoos are going to be the major source of information on our civilization.

  6. Fubar

    From the KomoNews article you linked, emphasis mine:

    They were arrested – usually for a DUI-related charge – and taken to jail, where they were told to change all their clothes for a booking photo, according to the lawsuit.

    The lawsuit says not a single woman was booked, but rather each was released as not a danger to the community. Many were not eventually convicted of DUI. None had been charged with crimes at the time of their unknowing naked exposure to male officers, according to the suit.

    If these allegations are true, the practice would be considerably more than mere videography for security purposes while changing for booking. It appears much more to be a procedure performed only for officers’ sexual gratification.

    It appears that the police involved were choosing subjects for their porn production on some basis besides actual PC to arrest, then lying about it; or with intention to videotape instead of book for offenses that could lawfully be issued a citation without booking. If that is true, then some heads should roll.

    More and more these days I’m inclined to mean that literally.

    1. SHG Post author

      I included that link as it was in a quote in one of the two stories I used, but I neglected to go there myself. Thanks for doing what I should have done and failed to do.

      That’s utterly outrageous and inexcusable.

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