One Officer Who Killed Breonna Taylor Had Been Accused Of Sexual Assault — He’s Not Alone
Breonna Taylor was killed in her home by police officers who served a "no-knock warrant" that allowed them to enter their home without reporting. They weren't even in uniform. Thanks to the Breonna Act passed earlier this week, these arrest warrants have now been banned. However, the three officers who shot her - Jonathan Mattingly, Brett Hankison and Myles Cosgrove - have yet to be charged with her death and are still on administrative leave.
After the names of the officials responsible for the Taylor shootout were released, several women came forward to share their negative experiences with Hankison, who, according to these women, has had sexual abuse in the past. These allegations against Hankison underline an often overlooked element of police brutality - sexual violence.
Both allegations have been released on social media and show uncanny similarities, suggesting that Hankison may have routinely hunted women. Both women said they met Hankison when he offered to drive them home from a bar - in his police car, in uniform.
"I went home drunk from a bar in early fall," Emily Terry wrote on Instagram. "A policeman stopped next to me and offered to drive me home ... He was making sexual progress towards me; I rubbed my thigh, kissed my forehead and called myself 'baby'. Terry said her friend reported it the next day, but "nothing came out," but she stepped forward after recognizing him when his face was on the news after Taylor's shooting.
A woman named Margo Borders shared her story on Facebook, which she said took place in April 2018. Borders wrote that she called an Uber to go home when Hankison, with whom she had "interacted on many occasions in bars in St. Matthews," offered her a ride. "He drove me home in uniform in his marked car, invited me to my apartment and sexually assaulted me while I was passed out." The Louisville Metro Police Department is now investigating both allegations.
The allegations of sexual violence against Hankison show a major systemic problem with regard to legitimate law enforcement violence. According to the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, sexual misconduct after excessive violence is the highest form of misconduct by the police.
"Women's allegations of sexual assault against police officers are largely ignored and in no way assessed," Tarana Burke wrote on the # ShareTheMic campaign on Glennon Doyle's Instagram. Last August, two NYPD officials accused of raping a teenager while in custody were given probation and no prison terms. At the time, there was no law prohibiting the police from having sex with anyone in their care. In fact, almost three dozen states allow sex between an arrest officer and the person in custody.
Although both Hankison prosecutors are white, it is important to note that black women are at the highest risk of sexual violence by police officers, as Michelle S. Jacobs, a professor of law at the University of Florida, points out in a 2017 paper , The Violent State: Invisible fight of black women against police violence.
"If you take into account the fact that black women have the highest police interaction and detention rate in the country, you'll see how it all relates," Burke wrote. "We are at risk of losing our lives to the police and being sexually assaulted by them." Daniel Holtzclaw, a police officer in Oklahoma City, OK, was convicted in 2015 of raping 13 black women. In his case, prosecutors outlined how he targeted black low-income women because they would be less likely to hand him over, and targeted his victims using traffic stops in a poor neighborhood and threatened to arrest existing warrants to force her to have sex.
In a 2015 investigation, the Associated Press found that nearly 1,000 officers had lost their license to sex offenses over a six-year period. The reporters found that this was "a safe count of the problem."
"There is so little reporting and people are afraid that if you call a police officer and complain about him, you think that any other police officer will pick you up," Chief Bernadette DiPino of the Sarasota Police Department in Florida said Problem for the International Police Chiefs Association, said the AP.
This was the case for Borders, one of Hankison's accusers. "I never reported him for fear of retaliation," she wrote. "I had no evidence of what happened and he got the upper hand because he was a policeman. Who do you call if the person who attacked you is a police officer? Who would you believe? I knew I wouldn't be. "
For those who fight police violence and work to defuse and abolish the police, excessive violence and sexual violence are bound to be linked. "Law enforcement does not respond effectively to cases of sexual violence, which has resulted in a lack of services for survivors," Burke wrote. "Funding the police means reducing police budgets and investing this money directly in services that support survivors."
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