When stop-and-frisk escalates into 'sexual intimidation'

When stop-and-frisk escalates into 'sexual intimidation'

Wendy Ruderman, writing for the New York Times, says that the law of stop-and-frisk is “blind to gender,” meaning that a male police officer can perform a search on a female suspect just as they could on a male suspect. Gender plays no role in an officer’s ability to perform a search.

But the problem with some searches is that they can escalate into something quite sexual in nature.

Officers are trained to focus on the areas of the body where weapons can be hidden, and often those areas include underwear. “Yes, it’s intrusive,” said one law enforcement officer, as Ruderman quotes, “but wherever a weapon can be concealed is where the officer is going to search.”

The problem lies in the cases where the officer isn’t legally justified in doing the stop-and-frisk. In those cases, and there are many, the officer does not have legal authority to frisk the woman.

This, right there, leaves ripe the possibility of “sexual intimidation,” as Ruderman writes, wherein an officer pats down a woman’s private areas and rifles through the tampons in her purse for no justifiable reason.

Contact a criminal defense attorney today.

Source: For Women in Street Stops, Deeper Humiliation

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