WASHINGTON -- The death of Sandra Bland, a 28-year-old woman believed to have taken her own life after being subject to a forceful arrest, is drawing attention to one Texas county's troubling legacy of racial disparities. But Waller County is hardly the only place where women have been mistreated by male police officers.
Bland was pulled over in Waller County for failing to signal when changing lanes after an officer allegedly sped up behind her. The dashcam video shows the officer attempting to drag Bland out of her car and threatening her with a Taser, leading to a physical confrontation.
To get a sense of how common such encounters are, The Huffington Post analyzed over 100 pages of complaints made by women against cops in Dallas, which is about three hours away from Waller County. The documents, which cover a two-year period, include only those reports for which at least one allegation was sustained -- or judged as valid -- by authorities. Some of the complaints describe officers smashing a woman's car with a baseball bat, stalking a former girlfriend and being arrested for domestic violence. Other cases sound like Bland's: male cops resorting to violence on the job.
Below is a sample of these cases along with the disciplinary penalties the officers received. (The dates listed are when the incident occurred.) None of the reports showed the cops losing their jobs.
Dec. 28, 2013: A woman alleged that two male officers used unnecessary force and made inappropriate comments during her arrest. She further alleged that one officer took a picture of the X-ray of her broken arm at the hospital with his personal cell phone. (It's unclear from the documents how her arm was broken.) One officer was found to have used inappropriate force, the other "improper action." Both cases were still awaiting review.
Oct. 3, 2013: Two senior corporals went undercover to investigate prostitution activity. A woman arrested for prostitution said the officers threw her down and kicked her in the eyes. Both officers were exonerated from the use-of-force allegations, but multiple officers involved in the incident were found to have violated the procedures for using body recorders (microphones). They all received "advice & counseling."
June 16, 2013: A woman was having a party in her backyard when officers arrived to discuss parking violations. They returned later to address a complaint of loud music. The woman turned the music down. She said a cop yelled at her guests to "get out," pointed his finger in her face and told her to "shut" her "mouth." When her son began to videotape the incident, the officer allegedly grabbed the phone out of his hand and said, "You don't record nothing." The officer received "advice & counseling" for "discourtesy/unprofessionalism."
April 19, 2013: A woman pulled over for traffic violations said that a male senior corporal made inappropriate comments and searched her body and vehicle. The complaint about inappropriate comments was sustained, as well as one of illegal or improper search. The officer was written up.
March 1, 2013: A woman said that a male officer, who had been dispatched to the residence, bumped into her twice and used profanity. She also said that two cops threw her down and dragged her across the ground. Both officers were exonerated from the use-of-force allegations. One was written up for using "profane or indecent language."
Dec. 17, 2012: A woman alleged that after she was arrested and handcuffed, a male officer put his hands around her neck, pushed her against a wall and choked her. The officer was initially suspended. After an appeal to the chief of police, the officer received "documented counseling."
Nov. 25, 2012: A woman alleged that a male officer tried to bully and intimidate her. The officer was written up for "discourtesy/unprofessionalism."
Nov. 1, 2012: A woman alleged that a male police officer pointed his gun at her. The officer was written up for "improper display of weapon."
The Dallas Police Department did not respond to a request for comment.
Read more on Sandra Bland at the links below: