This story made me want to throw up: A North Carolina police officer was recently demoted and is facing a lawsuit after two women accused him of stalking them. Richard Jenkins III was the head of the domestic violence unit, and began stalking both women after they came to his unit seeking protection from abusive spouses. Two other police officers backed-up the first woman’s story, and somehow the Irdell County police department thought it was appropriate to demote Jenkins but not fire him.
I don’t know what’s more disgusting. On one hand, it sounds like two other police officers, who swore to serve and protect, witnessed a co-worker committing a crime against someone and didn’t report it or try to stop it. And on the other hand, a police officer who was the head of the domestic violence unit committed a crime he should have been specifically trained to prevent and stop. I use the word disgusting instead of shocking, because this is nothing new. But seriously, how is this man not fired? And why are charges not being filed against him?
In other law enforcement news this week, Attorney General Eric Holder announced the Department of Justice would be investigating the local and university police department in Missoula Montana. Eighty rapes have been reported in approximately three years, and Holder stated there is a concern women may being discriminated against based on their gender and not receiving adequate police services. The local prosecutor and chief of police have denied any wrong doing or mismanagement. The prosecutor even went so far as to state that he had “no reason to believe anyone’s constitutional rights were violated.” Ummm, what? No reason… at all? To quote Jezebel’s Katie J.M. Baker “He deserves to be fired on that statement alone.”
It’s sad and a little tiring to keep reading about law enforcement committing crimes against women or not taking them seriously. At this point it should be obvious to everyone, especially to law enforcement, that sexual assault is a predatory behavior targeted toward victims who are in a vulnerable state. Even if rape is hard to prove in court, prosecutors should go for it. Even without a conviction, forcing the alleged perpetrator to go through the system, get finger printed, spend money on a lawyer, and go through an interrogation sends a message. It’s still nothing close to what victims go through. But it’s better than nothing.