You may remember the disgusting videos of a young woman, strip searched by Stark County, Ohio police, and left naked in a cell, all under the watchful eye of male police officers. If you don’t remember, please go back and take a look. It’s a video you won’t soon forget, particularly if you have a mother, wife or daughter.
U.S. District Court Judge David Dowd said in a court order that the plaintiffs, including Sheriff Tim Swanson and the Stark County Board of Commissioners, “have entered into a resolution of the plaintiffs’ case against those defendants, reserving only a determination by the Court as to the amount of attorney fees and costs.”
The amount of the settlement, however, is undisclosed, a rather strange thing given that it would appear that the cost of the police abuse of Hope Steffey (which had earlier been spelled “Steffi” based on news reports, but is different in this report) will be born by the taxpayers. Don’t they have a right to know just how much their police have cost them? Since when does government impropriety get to be swept under the rug so that the citizens, for whom the cops exists, are left to wonder?
When asked if the settlement is an admission of guilt, Sheriff Swanson told The Investigator Tom Meyer, “No reaction, Tom” and he hung up.
Other county officials had no reaction either.
Of course, it’s great to hear that Hope Steffey received a settlement for the harm done in this egregious case, though disappointing that the local sheriff would still hide from what happened. I can’t blame her attorneys for settling, as their duty is to Hope, not us. But it’s a shame that the full panoply of what went horribly wrong here won’t be aired publicly as a message to police everywhere. And it’s a shame that the individual cops involved won’t have to pay personally for what they did to this young woman.
It’s not everything one could want in a settlement, but it’s better than nothing. Better this than giving these sick, disgraceful cops medals.