One Question Too Manybyjoe doe©
INVESTIGATIVE JOURNALIST TERRI LONDON WANTS AN "INSIDE LOOK" AT THE SHERIFF'S OFFICE. BUT THEN TERRI ASKS ONE QUESTION TOO MANY...
Terri London sat in the parking lot of the Sheriff's Office, reviewing her notes. She was a tough reporter, but she knew that this assignment was different. And she was determined to get an "inside look" at the Sheriff's Department. So she read over her questions one more time:
Q: As you know, Sheriff, racial profiling is very controversial. While the record shows that you search Oriental, Caucasian, African-American, and Hispanic women in equal numbers, the record also shows that you only search women. Furthermore, you always search attractive women between the ages of 18 and 45. You have been quoted as saying this is your "target criminal population" for drug smuggling. Why is this group searched while others are ignored?
Q: Most of the women were detained for routine traffic stops or the violation of arcane or archaic ordinances. Yet 100% were strip searched and cavity searched. Is a cavity search ALWAYS needed?
Q: Given the large number of searches you perform, shouldn't your department invest in hiring a female deputy to conduct them?
Q: Is it true that you conduct a large number of the searches personally...or watch while the searches are being performed?
Q: The women are routinely frisked before the search. A number of them have complained about being "groped" by you or your deputies during this procedure. Since each of these women was given a body cavity search, was the "pat down search" necessary?
Q: Several of the women I talked to reported that you and your staff smiled lewdly at them or made derogatory sexual remarks, such as referring to their "titties," "honey-pots," or "tight little asses." They also report that you made a big show of snapping on the rubber glove and applying lubricant prior to the search. Is this treatment necessary?
Q: The strip search area is visible from both the office and the men's cellblock. There is also a large picture window that is adjacent to the street. Although there is a shower bar, there is no shower curtain. The net effect is that anyone in the station house can watch the entire admission procedure.
A number of the women complained that people passing by on the street stopped to watch though the front window as they were stripped, showered, and deloused. The examination table actually faces the street, so that, when the women put their feet in the stirrups, "their juicy gashes" (as you call them) are facing the pedestrian onlookers. How much would a set of curtains cost? Q: You use a speculum during your searches, and you've have been quoted as saying that "it isn't a real search unless you get an inside look," and "I want to see pink!" Is that an accurate quote, Sheriff?
Q: The strip search area is filled with video cameras. In addition, the women are made to pose for their mug shots in the nude. A few of them have complained that you forced them to assume a large variety of poses during this procedure, almost like a pictorial, and that the pictures were later published in sleazy adult magazines. What happens to the arrest photos and videos when the women are released?
Q: A number of the women complained that they were slapped hard on their bare buttocks during the search procedure, and that you routinely punctuated your commands to "spread 'em" or "bend over" with hard slaps to the naked fannies of these women. You have also been known to "tan" female prisoners across their naked buttocks with a belt when they "sassed" you. These are proud and liberated adult women. Are spankings really the only way to maintain order?
Q: In a number of cases, the women were ordered to their knees to perform oral sex, and, when they refused, you turned them over your knee and spanked them until they complied. Is this criminal assault, or, as you have claimed, "just teaching some snooty bitches a lesson"?
Q: I've been told that when a female is particularly attractive and accomplished, you arrange to send her to the "prison farm." Besides picking cotton, the women are also forced to work as prostitutes at truck stops along the interstate. They are forced to cater to the large population of truckers, hobos, farmhands, and illegal immigrants in the area, sometimes servicing dozens of men nightly. How do you respond to these charges?
Q: Women sent to the prison farm claim that you denied them their phone call when you arrested them, and that they were denied phone and mailing privileges at the farm. They also claimed that you denied them the chance to have a lawyer or a trial, and that you sent them to the prison farm by signing a "sentencing form." Is this legal?
Q: I'd like to talk to you about a few specific cases. FBI agent Susan March said she wasn't surprised when you made her surrender her gun and badge before entering the cellblock. But, after locking her things in a drawer your deputies forced her submit to a full cavity search. Then they showered and deloused her in full view of the criminals she was there to interrogate. The day before, her male partner hadn't even been frisked when he visited, and he was allowed to keep his gun and badge. Why was Susan strip searched?
Q: In what your department referred to as "a regrettable case of mistaken identity," State Supreme Court Judge Janice Fields was strip searched and transferred to the woman's prison farm when she became separated from her VIP tour group here at the jail. Judge Fields is one of the most accomplished and respected jurists in our state. Why did she have to spend a week working on a chain gang dressed in just a t-shirt, sneakers, and denim shorts before her true identify was determined? Are the rumors that you forced her to work evenings at various truck stops really true?
Q: Principal Wendy Johnson recently brought three of her high school students down to the jail when she caught them spying on their female gym teachers in the locker room. The boys were 18 years old, and she asked you to charge them. Instead, you arrested HER for "interfering in police business" and then strip searched her while the grinning boys watched. Was it necessary to issue the boys rubber gloves, and let them help with her search?
Q: Recently lawyer Denise Smith claims that she visited the jail in order to give one of her clients a bottle of prescription medication. Her visit was less than 2 days after Miss Smith had successfully represented your wife in her recent divorce action against you.
Although the judge had authorized Miss Smith to give her client that medication, she claims that you arrested her for drug smuggling. She says that, after stripping her butt-naked, you made her do the "titty bounce," ordering her to jump up and down repeatedly to make sure nothing was concealed under her breasts. Then you made her do squats and "the frog walk" for almost 10 minutes in order to "loosen any concealed objects."
She was forced to spend the night handcuffed naked in a cell with several drunken hobos you had picked up out by the train tracks. After a full night of what you referred to as "sucking and fucking," you marched Miss Smith through the court house stark naked with her hands still cuffed behind her back. She says you paraded her slowly and brazenly in front of all of her friends and colleagues. You marched her to the judge's chambers on the fourth floor, claiming that you needed to "verify her story." Wouldn't a phone call have been sufficient?
Q: Sara Watkins, President of New Possibilities Software, claims that you strip searched her after she came down to post bail for a friend. Professor Cindy Blake claims that she was arrested and strip searched when she complained that her neighbor's stereo was too loud. A local CPA claims that you strip searched her after she called to report that her purse had been snatched. What do you say to your critics when they charge that, in this town, pretty young professional women are afraid to report crimes, because they know that they will be arrested and strip searched while the perpetrators are let off scot-free?
Terri got out of her car and started toward the jail's front door. She was wealthy and successful, and it showed. In her expensive charcoal gray business suit with its fashionably short skirt, she looked every bit the professional career woman, but somehow she knew that wouldn't impress the Sheriff very much.
The Sheriff had refused her numerous interview requests, and he was openly contemptuous of her journalistic credentials. He wasn't impressed with her Master's degrees, her national reputation, or her Pulitzer Prize, either. It was only after she sent him a photograph of herself that he agreed to a meeting. He adamantly refused a phone interview, insisting that Terri meet him at his office so that she would be "under his jurisdiction."
Terri stopped to check her reflection in the large picture window next to the front door of the Sheriff's Office. Through the glass window she could see the steel exam table. The polished metal stirrups gleamed under the bright lights, almost daring her to come in. Next to the exam table was the brilliantly illuminated concrete shower area.
"How humiliating!" she thought. These proud, wealthy, and educated young women having their dignity stripped away from them because the Sheriff wouldn't spend $3 for a cheap plastic curtain!
It was terrible to stand there in front of that window. But, though she would never admit it to anyone, somehow it was also strangely...exciting.
Terri pressed her nose against the glass to get a better look. On the table she saw a shoddy black plastic carton with a white tag on the front. She squinted, trying to read the writing on the tag. As her eyes adjusted, she was just barely able to make it out:
LONDON, TERRI 5875-4844-8789
She was confused. Why was HER name on the carton? She had requested documentation from the sheriff; maybe he had gathered together some research materials and put them in the carton so it would be easier for her to carry.
Looking at the carton more closely, she saw it was totally empty. If it was going to be used to give her something, then why was it empty?
Terri suddenly remembered something Justice Fields had told her, and she looked up the passage in her notes:
Since they were sending me to the prison farm, they made me put everything...in the crate: clothes (including bra and panties), jewelry, money, identification... everything. They even took my contact lenses, telling me that I wouldn't need to be literate in what they jokingly referred to as "my busy new career at the truck stop." The guard told me that the crate was going to be shipped to a storage locker since I "wouldn't need anything anymore." It was a cheap plastic crate. It was black and had a small white tag with my name and prisoner number printed on the front. When they took the crate, I cried, because it was like they took my whole life away.
****** Terri felt her throat go dry and her pulse quicken. It HAD to be a mistake! After all, she was a respected journalist, and she was there for an interview.
She looked at the table again, hoping for a clue. Next to the carton was a small cardboard box with the label, "ACME PLASTIC GLOVES, ULTRA-SHEER, 200 PAIR."
Terri shivered as she thought about what the sheriff used those gloves for.
She looked again, straining her eyes to read the label on the small jar next to the gloves. She swallowed hard. It was lubricant.
On the floor next to the shower, there was a large green canister with chemical warning labels on it. And it wasn't a fire extinguisher. A short hose ran from the top of the tank to some device that looked like a powerful spray gun with an adjustable nozzle. Terri looked it over carefully.
She was mortified when she suddenly realized what the tank contained.
It was the delousing fluid.
She had been thinking about this place for weeks, but the reality was worse than she had imagined. At the Sheriff's insistence, she had brought every scrap of evidence she had gathered along with her and had not told anyone about the interview. Unfortunately, if anything happened, no one would know where she was. Terri was usually a very confident woman, even cocky, but looking at the shiny steel stirrups and the ominously empty carton with her name on it was chilling.
She glanced at her watch and then regarded the picture window again. Her timing couldn't have been worse. The local newspaper had mentioned that there was a game tonight, which meant the varsity football team would be getting out of school early. She knew that, in a few minutes, the horny 18-year-olds would be crowding around this window, hoping to catch a free show, hoping to see some unlucky young woman stripped naked and forced to put her dainty feet up into those pitiless steel stirrups.
Terri stared fearfully at the cheap black carton with her name and number already shamefully plastered across the front. They had left it carelessly displayed in the front window as if it were a trifling matter, a small part of just another routine processing procedure. Then she looked back at the icy steel stirrups.
She glanced nervously at the shiny brass doorknob on the front door. She thought of the hundreds of pretty young professional women just like her who had opened that door and walked into the humiliations that waited on the other side. Once you went through that door, there was no going back.
Were her questions good enough to get the full story? Would she really find out what was happening to the pretty young professional women in this town? What was the true story behind the "work details" at the prison farm?
Terri looked at the portentously empty milk crate with her name on it. It was clear that the Sheriff was willing to give her the whole story, if she were brave enough to rise to the challenge. Taking out her pen, she very nervously wrote down her last two questions:
Q: Sheriff, one of the tail-lights on my car is burned out. Do you know of any service stations in the area where I might get it fixed?
She paused and took a deep breath. Then she wrote down her final question.
Q: Do you know whether I've violated any laws by driving around your town all day with a broken tail-light, Sheriff?
Terri put her hand on the doorknob and turned it. She was confident that this final question would get her the "inside look" that she so wanted.
The only problem was that the Sheriff was going to get an "inside look" as well.
Terri cringed as she heard the school bell ring in the distance.
Edited by C. Lakewood