Woman Tells Tampa Police She Was Raped, Then She Is Jailed For Outstanding Warrant - Page 2 - U2 Feedback

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Old 01-31-2007, 12:09 PM   #16
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Originally posted by Headache in a Suitcase

it's not the police officer's job to be judge and jury.

this is a truly awful situation, and i wouldn't have faulted the police if they had let her go, but i can't fault them for putting her in jail either... just because you are now a victim of a crime, as heinous and awful of a crime it may be, does not mean that you are now off the hook for crimes you may have committed in the past, as petty as they may be.

Well, the question really is what the orders for the police officers were.
The only thing I really can't understand is, why they totally stopped investigating the rape incident.
She was at the rape crisis center, so I'm sure some specialist looked at her and confirmed the rape.
Then, police found out that there still was this restitution warrant, and suddenly all investigation in the rape incident was dropped and she was sentenced for the outstanding payment.

At least that is how I understand the article.
I would never say they have to drop the restitution warrant, but there was no reason to drop the rape investigation either. That should then be passed on to the police's rape unit.

Or maybe the article is misleading, or I didn't understand it correctly, and they still did some further investigations.

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Old 01-31-2007, 12:30 PM   #17
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Police play judge and jury all the time, making judgments about people that may or not be based upon personal bias, experience, etc. To think they don't is sort of naive.

The rape investigation should have been the priority over the warrant-like I said, where was she going? And my understanding is that she owed money, she wasn't wanted for any other reason besides the money. And if you want to boil it down to level of crimes, rape (alleged) is more heinous than outstanding criminal debt.

Sometimes the letter of the law should be colored by some sensitivity. That's one reason that people like police officers undergo sensitivity training.

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Old 01-31-2007, 12:53 PM   #18
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I do not understand why they are mutually exclusive. She should have been treated like any other victim of the crime. She should also have been arrested.

Why would one prevent the continuance of what needed to be done for the other?

I do not believe one thing trumps the other. The warrent should not be ignored.
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Old 01-31-2007, 01:13 PM   #19
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^ Well, it would seem the police department disagrees with you, because they've now officially altered their policy to permit postponing arrests on felony warrants in cases like this. (At no time was anyone suggesting the felony warrant should simply have been permanently disregarded.)
Tampa Tribune, Jan 31, 2007

...The officers acted under a 2002 policy advising they could use discretion and not arrest victims of "significant crimes" when outstanding misdemeanor warrants are discovered, police said. The policy did not address felony warrants. That was wrong, police said Tuesday. "It became very clear that our policy is flawed if it allowed someone who is the victim of a sexual assault to end up in the Hillsborough County jail," police spokeswoman Laura McElroy said. "Anyone who is a victim of crime, we're here to serve them and help them."

When pressed, McElroy said, "Yes, it's an apology."

A new policy enacted Tuesday about active warrants on victims of crime states a shift commander - who carries the rank of lieutenant or above - should weigh the degree of physical or mental injury a person has suffered against the circumstances of a warrant for a traffic offense, misdemeanor or felony property crime. "Postponing arrest may be the appropriate course of action," Assistant City Attorney Kirby Rainsberger wrote in a legal opinion about the new policy distributed to all officers. Crime victims wanted on charges of homicide, sexual battery, armed robbery, child abuse and similar offenses will be arrested immediately, "albeit with due regard for the subject's condition," Rainsberger wrote.

Mayor Pam Iorio said the circumstances of each case will be weighed, but, overall, "the needs of the victim should always come first...Common sense is going to have to prevail...This never should happen again," Iorio said. "I don't believe the seriousness of the charge warranted the steps that were taken...What occurred to her and how to help her is where the emphasis should have been."
I think a major part of the concern here, which MrsS already touched on, is that rape is the most underreported violent crime in the US. The Department of Justice, on the basis of discrepancies between reporting statistics and the results of its annual random sampling surveys, has consistently estimated for at least a decade now that only about a quarter of rapes are reported. The most commonly cited reasons for not reporting a rape are "I didn't think anything could really be done," "I didn't want others to know," and "I was afraid to go to the police."

Those kinds of statistics are very distressing to law enforcement officials because, obviously, it's in the interests of their work to get as many people as possible reporting it when they've been victims of a violent crime. A case like this can only further hurt the chances of that, because it gives rape victims who happen to have any sort of prior criminal record yet another reason to hesitate to come forward. It isn't a question of holding outstanding warrants procedures hostage to some later misfortune befalling the offender; again, at no point was there any suggestion that follow-through on that should simply be dispensed with altogether.
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Old 01-31-2007, 01:19 PM   #20
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Yes it could have easily just been postponed, I was never suggesting they just forget about it. The larger issue of women being afraid to go to the police about rape is a much more critical one in my opinion than an outstanding warrant for four thousand whatever. I don't think most people realize how difficult it still is for most rape victims to come forward, and they need the police to be sensitive and they need to be able to trust them. I would think for one thing that this incident would stop anyone with an outstanding warrant from going to the police if they were raped.

Good for them for recognizing that this was wrong and for changing the policy, it's just such a shame that this woman had to go through that before that happened.
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Old 01-31-2007, 03:39 PM   #21
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Originally posted by MrsSpringsteen
Police play judge and jury all the time, making judgments about people that may or not be based upon personal bias, experience, etc. To think they don't is sort of naive.

And I dont agree one doesn't trump the other. A 20 year jailable criminal offence is not equal to unpaid fines, or a misdemeanor. Good God. The discretion of police officers must be continually assessed.
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Old 01-31-2007, 05:19 PM   #22
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Again, you can be arrested, and not be brought into the jail cell. I do have a problem with her being sent to a cell, when she needed treatment.

Its kind of common sense....

At least, that is how I would have thought it through if I were still a policeman.
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Old 01-31-2007, 09:11 PM   #23
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I agree with you Dread. She should have been treated, then her legal problems could have been addressed afterwards.
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Old 02-01-2007, 07:04 AM   #24
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She walked out of jail hiding her face with a paper bag. A woman who says she was raped had to do that. And there is some question now as to whether she did pay the restitution and it wasn't entered into the court docket, maybe yolland has some more info on that. Allegedly the female cop who had her in the car didn't want to make the arrest and her lieutenant (a male) said she had to. That was a judgment call, and a very poor one in my opinion. Temper that justice with some mercy.

A woman in St Petersburg Florida who was raped was jailed in 2001 when she had an outstanding warrant for her dog being loose. A loose dog, and she had been raped, and they put her in jail. A very sad state of affairs.

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