The stories of police abuse have been unrelenting this week. Now we have news that a Haskell, Arkansas police officer chased a woman, at her workplace no less, finally deploying his Taser on her. All of this was solely because he had demanded to see her breasts. When she refused he unholstered his Taser and aimed it at her, saying that if she refused, he would use the weapon on her. Realizing that she had no legal obligation to comply with this clearly illegal demand, she made a run for it. That’s when things got even uglier; the officer made good on his threat.
Now, Ashlea Bennett is taking the City of Haskell, Arkansas and its police officer Brandon Carter, to Federal Court. Her recent suit claims that Carter “demanded that she expose her breasts to him” after wearing his uniform, entering her work place and suggesting that the demand was carried legal authority.
“Carter’s demands to the Plaintiff to expose herself to him occurred multiple times,” the lawsuit articulates.
The filing continues, stating “That the Plaintiff refused to show her breasts to Carter,” and ”That, upon her refusal, Carter drew his City of Haskell-issued electroshock Taser weapon from his utility belt, pointed the weapon at plaintiff, and threatened to deploy the same against her if she would not expose her breasts to him.”
Furthermore, it states “That, upon seeing the threat of unlawful force, the plaintiff took physical flight and ran from Carter,” who then ”proceeded to physically chase the plaintiff through her place of employment.”
“[W]hile chasing the plaintiff, Carter activated and deployed his electroshock Taser weapon in ‘drive stun’ mode numerous times at or directed at the plaintiff. That Carter did these actions with the intention of causing fear, imminent fear of bodily harm, and/or emotional distress to gain the plaintiff’s compliance with his sexual demands.”
This was not the first time the officer made such outrageous, illegal and abusive demands. Bennett claims that before this incident, the officer had made “inappropriate sexual comments” several times to here and made the same demand, albeit without the threat of force, that she expose herself to him.
Furthermore, she states that “the City of Haskell was aware, or should have been aware, of complaints made about or issues concerning Carter’s conduct, including, but not limited to, his inappropriate sexual actions occurring under color of law.”
Spread the word about this abuse of power. Those who obtain and exploit positions in law enforcement to abuse people rely upon our silence and acceptance of these abuses as “just the way that things are.” It doesn’t have to be this way, and it starts by us speaking up, speaking out and demanding and end to police abuse of power!
(Article by James Achisa; image via SFGate)