A Cincinnati woman filed suit against police last week, claiming she was unlawfully arrested for disorderly conduct after she had been the victim of a rape. According to one news account:
The woman’s suit alleges Officer Adrienne Brown took her to the Hamilton County jail instead of a hospital early Jan. 19, swearing at her and treating her like a criminal. The officer charged her with resisting arrest and disorderly conduct while intoxicated.
And, here’s how the Associated Press summed up the same incident:
A woman who reported being violently raped and assaulted by a cab driver filed a lawsuit today against a Cincinnati police officer who arrested her instead of taking her to the hospital.
Buried in the first story and not mentioned at all in the second was the fact that the officer did take the victim to the hospital initially, but ended up having to restrain her due to her allegedly violent behavior while there.
Here’s what the police say happened after the victim was initially placed in the squad car and asked the officer where she was being taken:
“I am taking you to the hospital, so you can get some help,” Brown [the officer] said. “Did I ask you to take me to the hospital?” the woman said. “My supervisor told me to take you,” Brown says before the woman interrupts, “Did I ask you to take me to the hospital?”
After stopping at University of Cincinnati Medical Center, according to the arrest and investigation report from the Cincinnati Police Department, the woman became very aggressive when she was removed from the cruiser.
The woman then attempted to swing at an officer and was told that she was under arrest, the report says. The woman then refused to be taken into custody and had to be restrained by multiple officers, according to the report. Back in the cruiser, Brown then tried to get information from the woman. The officer repeatedly asked her, “what is your name?”
When the victim still refused to identify herself after being put back in the patrol car, this is what the officer had to say:
“Let me explain something to you right now and you listen, and you listen good because this is going to be the last thing I am going to say to you,” Brown said. “You can either give me your information or I can put you down as a Jane Doe, which means you will not get a bond.”
And, at another point, the officer lectures the victim about her drinking, hinting that this is what lead to the alleged sexual assault:
“You should know your limit,” Brown tells her. “You’re an adult. You should never be in a situation where you don’t know you’re limit because you’re drinking too much.”
You can watch the videos below and decide for yourself, but to me this whole thing appears to be a case where the officer was caught in the middle of a situation that had no good solution.
She reportedly attempted to take the victim to an area hospital for treatment and evaluation, which seems a reasonable course of action under the circumstances. It also seems reasonable that officers would defend themselves if the victim did in fact act aggressively toward them, as they claim she did. Finally, it seems reasonable that if the victim was arrested for her violent behavior, she would be taken to jail.
What’s not reasonable, of course, were some of the officer’s statements in the squad car. But, that aside, what other options did the officer have in this scenario?
Should she have left the victim at the scene from the very beginning and done nothing? Or, should she have just dropped off an intoxicated, reportedly violent woman at the hospital to fend for herself? Or perhaps the officer should have just let the victim assault her.
I’m not sure exactly what would be expected of the officer in terms of resolving a situation like this. Arresting the victim doesn’t stop her from pressing charges against her alleged attacker, and it appears to have been a reasonable way to handle an untenable situation.
Cincinnati police are investigating both the rape allegation and the claims made against the officer. In the meantime, the officer is on desk duty pending the outcome.
What are your thoughts on all this? What do we expect of cops when they’re caught in the middle of a situation like this one?
WLWT News Story
WLWT News Story
WLWT News Story
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