Thursday, January 29, 2015

When cops cross the line with prostitutes

Posted By on Thu, Jan 29, 2015 at 1:58 PM

Sam Eifling has a new article in The New Republic about cops engaging in sex with prostitutes to make arrests. It revisits Fort Smith, where questions have been raised about vice cop activities.

In 49 states, including Arkansas, police are not allowed to buy sex to make a prostitution bust. But they can tread close to the line.

Eifling reports on information Little Rock lawyer Matt Campbell dug up in a whistleblower lawsuit against Fort Smith police by Sgt. Don Paul Bales. He was fired after a series of events that began when he raised questions about an undercover cop who reported an arrest after a woman began masturbating him.

There's no evidence that the officer in the Arkansas situation abused his power in the way Barry describes, but it underlines the danger of that scenario. Arrest reports from the past few years describe Fort Smith officers pushing the line of good discretion and often crossing it.

On May 6, 2014, an officer used to arrange for sex with a woman (who also worked at Western Sizzlin, the report states); she was arrested only after she straddled the cop on a couch and nuzzled her bare breasts into his face. February 19, a cop arranged to meet a woman at her house; she was arrested once she had put his hands on her ass and bare breast and, in the cop's account, "undid my pants and removed my penis." Another prostitute who had identified herself in an ad as a "sexy transsexual" was arrested only after she had pulled a cop's pants down and fondled him. In July, a woman advertising herself as 19 years old was arrested only after she started putting a condom on a naked officer, assuring him she was capable because she had been "doing this for two years." A couple of times, women were arrested during nude massages that had taken a sexual turn.

Bales's attorney, Matthew Campbell, says Fort Smith vice officers appear to enjoy their work too much. 

The Fort Smith police defend their practices in an article that details the intricate dance of prostitutes to avoid arrests and the cops' efforts to establish elements necessary to support a criminal charge.

We've reported before on Matt Campbell's writing about the case on his Blue Hog Report.

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