We need government cops and government courts because private protection forces and private arbitrators would be accountable to the powerful and well-connected instead of being accountable to the people. (#2)

Trigger warning. The following video of a local news story may be triggering for experiences of sexual assault.

Tom Meyer, WKYC (2008-06-18): Grand Jury clears Sheriff Deputies of criminal misconduct in explosive strip search case:

STARK COUNTY — A Stark county grand jury has found no probable cause that county deputies committed any criminal wrongdoing while arresting Hope Steffey.

As many as 7 male and female deputies forcibly removed Steffey’s clothes inside a Stark County jail cell and left her completely naked for 6 hours. Steffey had someone call for help when a cousin injured her during a fight.

The video of Steffey being stripped searched triggered reaction nationwide, forcing Sheriff Tim Swanson to ask the Ohio Attorney General to step in and investigate the arrest and incarceration of Steffey. Link to The Investigator, Tom Meyer’s previous strip search stories

The results of the investigation were turned over to the Stark County prosecutor who appointed the Attorney General’s Special Prosecutions Section to present the case to the grand jury.

The grand jury decided to not indict any of the deputies. On the day of the grand jury’s findings, Steffey was undergoing questioning in a deposition for her lawsuit against the Sheriff. Steffey is seeking justice in a civil case filed in federal court and which is set to go to trial this December. Steffey is accusing deputies of using excessive and outrageous force.

It’s unclear if the jailhouse video was shown to the grand jury. Those proceedings are secret. But the video is certain to be shown in federal court during her civil trial. The Sheriff has maintained that his office has done nothing wrong and was always in compliance with Ohio jail standards. Steffey’s attorneys are now under federal court order to not discuss the case. But they have argued that that the force used by deputies was brutal and unnecessary.

Phone calls to Stark County Sheriff Tim Swanson seeking comment were not returned.

Attorney General Marc Dann launched the state investigation into the Steffey case in February. Dann resigned May 14 after only 17 months in office. Dann was forced to step down following a highly-publicized sex scandal in his office which included his affair with a female staff member.

— Tom Meyer, WKYC (2008-06-18): Grand Jury clears Sheriff Deputies of criminal misconduct in explosive strip search case

Susan Vinella, WKYC (2008-06-19): Investigator Exclusive: Special prosecutors deny Steffey case was a strip search:

The special prosecutors in the Hope Steffey case said Thursday that there was no strip search and no criminal wrongdoing by the Stark County sheriff’s deputies.

Paul Scarsella and Bridget Carty said the incident, in which male and female deputies forcibly removed Steffey’s clothes at the Stark County jail, was a suicide precaution.

They said the deputies were only following a medical order given by a doctor on duty to remove her clothes.

The special prosecutors presented the results of their investigation to a grand jury on Wednesday. The grand jury declined to indict the deputies involved.

Though the jail has suicide suits for inmates to wear, Scarscella said Steffey was not immediately given one because even the suit was deemed too dangerous for her to have.

Steffey and her lawyers have denied that she was suicidal or was given the opportunity to remove her clothes herself, as the prosecutors say she was.

There is no policy that prevents men from removing a female inmate’s clothes during a suicide precaution situation. During a strip search, jail policy prevents men from being involved.

In a phone interview, Scarsella and Carty said they attempted to interview Steffey before the grand jury hearing Wednesday. They never did speak to her because they would not allow her attorneys by her side, as she requested.

Steffey did appear before the grand jury.

Scarsella said he could not say whether attorneys were allowed to sit in on the questioning of the sheriff’s deputies because ethical guidelines prevent him from discussing an investigation of uncharged defendants.

— Susan Vinella, WKYC (2008-06-19): Investigator Exclusive: Special prosecutors deny Steffey case was a strip search

See also:

6 replies to We need government cops and government courts because private protection forces and private arbitrators would be accountable to the powerful and well-connected instead of being accountable to the people. (#2) Use a feed to Follow replies to this article · TrackBack URI

  1. Soviet Onion

    Saw that one coming.

  2. anikhaque

    There are actually very few people speaking out in the United States regarding how out of control these pigs have gotten. Police abuse is massively underreported and what Charles is reporting is really just the tip of iceberg.

    Most people choose keep their mouths shut because, there’s essentially no point in pursuing the matter through the legal system. I got a firsthand view of it myself last fall when I was detained by the University of Alabama Police Department for days and rearressted SWAT team style and sent to mental hostpital for 30 days… all for charges that were later dropped.

    I wish there were more people like Charles documenting police abuse and also more victims speaking out against it.

  3. Discussed at scottishnous.typepad.com

    License to Rape @ Scottish Nous:

    […] Well, here’s another story I’ve been following. Shark County Sheriff Tim Swanson effectively runs a state sanctioned police rapist’s department. He and the morally depraved perverts who work for him regularly, and with the cold efficiency of years of systematic practice, in large groups of men and women, pin the women who call them for help to the ground, strip them naked, and leave them in cold cells for hours and hours and hours and hours and hours and hours. […]

  4. simonette

    I’ve noticed in the past year how overwhelmingly ubiquitous the police state in America has become. It’s excessive and self-indulgent and it makes me shiver. Guess all that I can do is resist.

  5. Discussed at waronguns.blogspot.com

    No Hope for Steffey @ The War on Guns:

    […] How can we expect “The Only Ones” to do their jobs and protect us if we bind their hands and subject them to such intrusive scrutiny? Besides, why should a grand jury have to see videos to make their decision? We’ve already established who owns our bodies. [Via AndreD from Rad Geek]

— 2009 —

  1. Discussed at radgeek.com

    Rad Geek People’s Daily 2009-01-31 – Rapists in uniform #5: on invasions of privacy:

    […] GT 2008-06-23: We need government cops and government courts because private protection forces and p… […]

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