Rapists on patrol (#2)

Rapist on patrol: Officer David Alex Park

(Story via smally.)

Last month, in Irvine, California, Officer David Alex Park, stalker and rapist, was acquitted by a jury of eleven men and one woman. He was acquitted, not because he is anything other than a stalker and a rapist—which he as much as admitted in open court, and which was proven well enough anyway by phone records, license plate requests, and DNA evidence. He was acquitted because he is a cop, and the woman that he harassed and sexually extorted danced at a strip club, and so the jury concluded that she made him do it, and besides, if she strips for a living, she must have been asking for it anyway.

You might think that I am exaggerating the defense’s position for polemical effect. No, I’m not. Here’s defense attorney Jim Stokke: She got what she wanted, … She’s an overtly sexual person. And in cross-examination of Lucy, the survivor: You do the dancing to get men to do what you what them to do, … And the same thing happened out there on that highway [in Laguna Beach]. You wanted [Park] to take some sex!

Back in the real world, outside of Jim Stokke’s and Officer David Alex Park’s pornographic power-trip succubus fantasies, what actually happened is that a professional cop, while armed and on patrol, used the extensive arbitrary powers that the law grants to police in order to get personal records on several different women at the strip club, picked out the one he liked the best, followed her, waited for the first excuse to use his legally-backed coercive power against her, used the power of his badge and gun to force her to pull over, used that same power to bring her under his custody and keep her there against her will, threatened her with arrest and jail, and then forced her into sex against her will. He didn’t give a damn about what she wanted because she’s just a woman, and an overtly sexual one at that. And he could force what he wanted on her because he’s a cop—so he has the power to restrain and threaten her—and she’s a stripper—so he had every reason to believe that a jury would give him every possible (and some impossible) benefit of the doubt, while they treated her bodily integrity and her consent as worth less than nothing, and blamed her for anything that happened to her, anyway. As, in fact, they did.

As I said about a case with several male cops in San Antonio back in December:

What as at stake here has a lot to do with the individual crimes of three cops, and it’s good to know that the police department is taking that very seriously. But while excoriating these three cops for their personal wickedness, this kind of approach also marginalizes and dismisses any attempt at a serious discussion of the institutional context that made these crimes possible — the fact that each of these three men worked out of the same office on the same shift, the way that policing is organized, the internal culture of their own office and of the police department as a whole, and the way that the so-called criminal justice system gives cops immense power over, and minimal accountability towards, the people that they are professedly trying to protect. It strains belief to claim that when a rape gang is being run out of one shift at a single police station, there’s not something deeply and systematically wrong with that station. If it weren’t for the routine power of well-armed cops in uniform, it would have been much harder for Victor Gonzales, Anthony Munoz, or Raymond Ramos to force their victims into their custody or to credibly threaten them in order to extort sex. If it weren’t for the regime of State violence that late-night patrol officers exercise, as part and parcel of their legal duties, against women in prostitution, it would have been that much harder for Gonzales and Munoz to imagine that they could use their patrol as an opportunity to stalk young women, or to then try to make their victim complicit in the rape by forcing her to pretend that the rape was in fact consensual sex for money. And if it weren’t for the way in which they can all too often rely on buddies in the precinct or elsewhere in the force to back them up, no matter how egregiously violent they may be, it would have been much harder for any of them to believe that they were entitled to, or could get away with, sexually torturing women while on patrol, while in full uniform, using their coercive power as cops.

A serious effort to respond to these crimes doesn’t just require individual blame or personal accountability — although it certainly does require that. It also requires a demand for fundamental institutional and legal reform. If police serve a valuable social function, then they can serve it without paramilitary forms of organization, without special legal privileges to order peaceful people around and force innocent people into custody, and without government entitlements to use all kinds of violence without any accountability to their victims. What we have now is not civil policing, but rather a bunch of heavily armed, violently macho, institutionally privileged gangsters in blue.

— GT 2007-12-21: Rapists on patrol

In Irvine, the same thing is happening all over again—just another Bad Apple causing Yet Another Isolated Incident. Except that in Irvine, the legal system has not even gone so far as to get to the part about individual blame and personal accountability. Overt misogyny against women who dare ever to be overtly sexual, combined with overt authoritarianism in favor of any controlling macho creep with a badge and a gun and a pocketful of wet dreams, have combined to get this admitted sexual predator completely off the hook, and leave all of his old buddies back at the department free to stalk, harass, extort and rape suspect women, with every expectation of more or less complete impunity for their actions.

Christ, but there are days when I hate being proven right about the things I write about.

Further reading:

15 replies to Rapists on patrol (#2) Use a feed to Follow replies to this article · TrackBack URI

  1. Anon73

    I’m not even going to research your quotations this time; it’s just too ludicrous for you to make it up, sadly.

  2. Aster of Wellington

    There are times I hate this world so much that I wish I could just slam the door on it, so that I wouldn’t have to see the kind of monsters who populate it- or at least it always seems to be the monsters who’re the ones with the power over your life. But of course they just won’t let you slam the door; they won’t leave you alone- that’s what they do- because their whole nature is that their psychological and physiological existence has been made to depend making yours impossible.

    And most of the world is like this. Most people are under the excruciating thumb of some government, some class, some personal patriarch. This is life, in the statistical sense.

    Why do religions need to postulate a Hell? Our world burns hot enough that one sometimes has to wonder whether we’re already in another world’s punishing afterlife? Except that life itself is good, it’s beautiful, including human beings. But this always seems to be what human beings make of it- and one has to wonder what makes it possible. There are times that I think it would be far kinder if none of us had ever existed at all.

    Please keep writing, Charles. Someone needs to say that: yes, this is how the bastards think. It’s just hard to believe that this is how human beings see each other, even nearly all of us do it sometimes.

  3. nath

    It just shows that the evil of the police as an institution is very easy to see if only one pays attention.

    On another note, the “she was asking for it” problem has been around for a very long time, but it still amazes me how basic rights are discarded for some vague appeal to “normal” sensibilities.

    Incidentally, I don’t think I’ve been so aware of the importance of radical feminism. Women only seem to have real rights as long as they aren’t “tempting” men. Well if you give a guy a hard-on you must be wanting sex…

  4. Elinor

    Note how even the OC Weekly writer can’t get out of the sexual objectification framework. For example, the size difference between the cop and his victim is relevant, but why on earth was it necessary to report that she is “bosomy”?

  5. Rad Geek

    Aster,

    Thank you.

    I hope that I’ll never be one to write off the world or put my hopes in getting away from it. As much as it can hurt to live and write in these times, the hurt is something that comes out of a love for life and these people and this world, as they and it can be in glory, and as they and it are already in their ordinary loveliness. That the large and small thugs of the world insist on covering us all with the foul garbage that they pass off as their legacy for humanity, and that this garbage wrecks so much for so many innocent people, reminds me mainly of how petty and ridiculous they ultimately are compared to what they are trying to cover over, and also reminds me all the more why we need to be as fierce and honest and gentle as we can in struggling to come out from under the garbage and those who fling it—not out of bitterness or envy against them, but out of consuming, passionate love for everything beneath and beyond them.

    My favorite thing that Robin Morgan ever wrote are those lines from Monster:

    I want a women’s revolution like a lover.
    I lust for it, I want so much this freedom,

    nath,

    Unfortunately, both rape trials and police violence trials tend to have something very much in common with each other: in both cases the men and women on the jury are culturally primed to treat the case as a matter of authority rather than a matter of fact, so it all ends up coming down to whether they are more willing to give social credit to the complainant or to the accused. Since this is both a rape trial and a police violence trial, it’s outrageous, but not at all surprising, that a defense lawyer would find no slagging or slut-shaming so low as to be beneath him, or that a jury of 11 men and only one woman would treat the admitted facts of the case as irrelevant next to their beliefs about the relative social merits of cops and strippers. In cultural context, the trial itself is less like a hearing of facts and more like a duel at 30 paces, with ethos as the weapon of choice.

    In a male-supremacist and police-regimented society, this outrage was more or less inevitable. So, yeah: to stop cases like this from happening again, what it’ll take is radical feminism and unterrified anarchism. One thing I hope to do in calling attention to stories like this is to encourage a few more people, here and there, to treat this like the massive and systemic problem that it is. And, recognizing that, for a few more people not to flinch at saying something crazy and true in public, about the need for radical, systematic change to address it.

    Elinor,

    Yeah, I found the OC Weekly article to be pretty awful at several different points. Normally I tend to quote pretty extensively from news stories that I discuss, but here, even though the basic analysis was substantially better than in most news stories about police, the writing handled the events, in several different places, from this really noxious, frat-boy standpoint that objectified the victim and trivialized the crime. The clash between the content and the tone is so jarring that it makes me wonder whether it’s the fault of some editor, or the Alterna-Weekly’s house style, or just one really confused writer.

  6. smally

    I didn’t like the tone of the article, but it was the only detailed one I could find that included the outrageous quotes from the defence lawyer.

· May 2008 ·

  1. Discussed at www.lifeloveandliberty.com

    Life, Love, and Liberty » Blog Archive » This is Why I Am a Feminist:

    […] Irvine, California provide a great lesson in misogyny and anti-sex puritanical attitudes. To quote Charles Johnson: Last month, in Irvine, California, Officer David Alex Park, stalker and rapist, was acquitted by a […]

  2. Discussed at radgeek.com

    Rad Geek People’s Daily 2008-05-10 – Cops are here to protect you. (#3):

    […] they are arrested, they are hardly ever convicted. It doesn’t even matter if they as much as confess in open court. With few exceptions, the best that most victims of police violence can realistically ever hope for […]

  3. Discussed at radgeek.com

    Rad Geek People’s Daily 2008-05-16 – Women and the Invisible Fist:

    […] Don’t make yourself noticeable on the subway. Don’t dress like that. Don’t act overtly sexual. Don’t go to that party. Don’t drink at that party. Or, if you do, then you better like […]

— 2009 —

  1. Discussed at radgeek.com

    Rad Geek People’s Daily 2009-07-31 – The Police Beat:

    […] that he’s in disbelief because he’s never heard of such a thing before. Well, I’m not. I […]

— 2010 —

  1. Discussed at radgeek.com

    Rad Geek People’s Daily 2009-08-24 – Rapists on patrol (#6) / Men in Uniform (#4):

    […] GT 2008-03-10: Rapists on Patrol (#2). Officer David Alex Park, Irvine, California. […]

— 2011 —

  1. mattymatt

    Uhhh…You should really post all of the correct information. You can’t accept money for sex and then scream rape. Doesn’t work for me and didn’t work for the jury. Forcing yourself on a another person is indisputably wrong, but when you literally ask for it, you’re not a victim. Sorry.

— 2012 —

  1. Discussed at radgeek.com

    Rad Geek People's Daily 2012-12-17 – December 17th is the International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers:

    […] and his victim’s status in the system of patriarchal sex-class, makes absolutely any kind of sexual predation or physical torture a cop’s prerogative and nothing better than what the victim deserves. Or, […]

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