Tuesday, August 07, 2007

HPD Assistant Chief: Oral sex performed to avoid arrest was consensual

A Houston Assistant Police Chief claims that trading oral sex in exchange for avoiding arrest for traffic warrants was a mutual agreement involving "consent" by the motorist, reported the Houston Chronicle:

In his expert report on the incident, Assistant Chief Michael A. Dirden wrote that the encounter sprang from consent on both sides.

"According to the plaintiff, the oral sex was performed because of an at least implied promise that Archer would not take the plaintiff to jail, even though the plaintiff had outstanding traffic warrants," Dirden wrote.

At the time of the incident, Dirden, who is a lawyer, oversaw the department's internal investigations, including allegations of police misconduct. He now heads criminal investigations.

"The Houston Police Department does not condone sexual contact between an officer and a person in custody, regardless of whether or not it might be called consensual," he writes. "Whether you view it as a violation of law, or as unprofessional conduct, or an act of oppression, or just horrible judgement (sic) on how to act, Archer's conduct was simply outside of department policy."

The officer in question was prosecuted but sentenced to deferred adjudication and no jail time. Now he and the Houston PD have been sued over the incident

I'm not so shocked at the case itself - HPD has around 8,000 officers and it'd be naive to believe there aren't some bad eggs among them. The article reports that "Since 1999, there have been at least a half-dozen cases of male officers in the Houston area allegedly coercing women under their authority into performing oral sex." But the Assistant Chief's assertion that this could have been a consensual act boggles the mind. The alternative to performing the act was arrest! How consensual was that?

25 comments:

Anonymous said...

I'll bet they paid this guy a lot of money to come up with that statement. He's not worth the money because he is stupid and lacks integrity.

The behavior described should not be tolerated; period. For someone to attempt to justify it is obscene and disgusting.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

It's not even like he's some high-paid consultant who's doing this for money. He's just doing this, apparently, as part of the Houston PD salary he already draws.

Anonymous said...

Who's to say that's not one of the perks of the job, but no one has ever brought it to light before now? I'd say that's been going on for about as many years as crooked cops have existed. Gee, I wonder how long that has been?

Anonymous said...

As a woman, I'm horrified. This amounts to state-sanctioned rape.

Anonymous said...

Obviously, the act was not consensual; the officer was prosecuted and found guilty. What the HPD Asst. Chief put out is commonly called a whitewash, designed as a CYA ploy, in hopes of poisoning the jury pool in the civil damages case. The absurdity of his position is obvious in light of the successful criminal prosecution. He may not feel like a fool for writing such crap (doing such things is just part of his job description), but he really should be willing to acknowledge the accuracy of those who call him one.

spearshaker said...

Feeling a need to defend an administrator who is also an attorney is a new experience, so forgive any delusions of reasonableness.
Note: Dirden was acting in attorney-mode and, unlike most professions, jargon differentiates more than most people realize. E.g., nobody in Texas can be charged with rape (that term is not in the penal code); urinating by the side of the road can be a sex offense for a male, but not for a female etc.
My guess is that Dirden was responding to a question about consent, period. Sometimes, when a person goes to court, they are given the choice between jail or paying a fine and they consent to one or the other. This does not alter the coercion involved. If you consider yourself "not guilty" and want to appeal the case (such as a traffic violation), you may obligated to put up a bond or lose the chance to appeal. In that case, you may make the choice and "consent" to put up the bond, effectively taking the penalty of lost interest etc for the privilege of being heard.
In the field, I have been led to believe that prostitutes may provide services to cops to avoid being busted. In general, this may be considered in the same category as free coffee at a convenience store: in both cases, it is a product normally being sold that is bartered for police protection.
Grits: this may actually fall under your concerns about bribery. Presuming no force was used in either case, aren't the briber and the bribee performing a consensual act?

Merc said...

I think the issue might be who suggested it, and in what context.

If the officer said something along the lines of "I'm going to arrest you and throw you in jail unless you give me a blowjob" that would be one thing.

If instead, he said "I'm going to have to give you a traffic ticket." and the driver said "What if I give you a blowjob, will that get me out of the ticket?", that would be completely different.

Neither one is really acceptable because they're both bribery, but the person who initiates it does have some bearing on the case.

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Anonymous said...

Legalese - consent - bribery - B.S! Who said what,when! Police cannot do this stuff "under the color of authority". White wash indeed!!!!!

This statement is still obsene and disgusting.

MoonshineMike said...

So the coercion is bad. But what if the woman is the one proposing the deal? Is that wrong?

I ask, because I actually know someone who I believe did this (she will not say how she got out of being pulled over and was very drunk), but was the one who most likely propositioned the office.

Don said...

It is illegal for someone in a position of authority or perceived authority to have any kind of sexual contact with someone who is under their authority or perceived to be such. Example: Dr.-patient, counselor-client, lawyer-client. I am Licensed Chemical Dependency Counselor, and have had several opportunities to have sex with a client. Some of them are very needy. But had I done that, I would lose my license and be subject to criminal prosecution. Almost every counselor I know that has lost their license has been because of this. So it would certainly apply to a cop who was about to arrest someone or give them a ticket. To Spearshaker: Are you crazy? You couldn't possibly believe the ridiculous crap you put out in that comment. He was referring to consensual meaning he "consented" to the guilty plea for DA? Good Grief!

Rick H. said...

In general, this may be considered in the same category as free coffee at a convenience store: in both cases, it is a product normally being sold that is bartered for police protection.

This analogy/comparison would only be valid if coffee were illegal.

James said...

I'll consent to agree with Mr. Dirden's report... so long as he gives me a blowjob.

Anonymous said...

No matter who proposed it, it's rape. Quibbling over details like this is how we got CIA torture factories.

Anonymous said...

The issue is NOT AT ALL who proposed it. The police are supposed to be professionals.

"Oh well carry those explosives to the government building if you suck me off"

IDIOTS

Anonymous said...

In any jurisdiction (emphasizing the "dict" part) this is known roughly as "abuse of office" and is a felony. It means that you have used the implied (or in this case directly negotiated) power over another person to influence them.

As a former law enforcement officer I once performed a routine traffic stop of a woman who, on my request, produced her "license and registration please" in the form of - "oops, I gave you the wrong ID" - her "assistant district attorney" identification card.

The implication being that, since she was just one of the team, the Brotherhood will go along to get along.

She got her ticket, but before it was delivered I asked her to assist me with an upcoming prosecution: "I stopped someone recently, just like tonight, who tried to influence my discretion by showing me their official ID". It was at this point she began to turn pale. "Isn't this a felony?", I innocently asked.

The individual promised to NEVER again do what she did.

Ticket in hand, she meekly drove home.

Point: This police department showed just what they are made of by not only sweeping this crime under the rug, but by not prosecuting it for the full criminal act it demonstrated.

As we see with the current bush maladministration, those who do not keep the law themselves cannot expect others to respect the law they have made.

spearshaker said...

To Rick H: my apologies for not getting back to you sooner so I could, with great humility, accept your comment as accurate. I thought about saying "except in a few counties in Nevada", but that was too bogus even for me. I think my reference to bribery is really more accurate. My intent was never to justify the act, which is reprehensible for any professional to suggest or accept. I don't think Dirden was defending the officer in any way.
Consent was never the issue; like the current Prison Rape reduction information points out, there is no such thing as consent in a prison setting involving staff and in many cases of prisoner with prisoner. The whole intent of professional conduct requirements it that coercion does not require a weapon or a threat; it only requires the perception of coercion. Conversely, accepting a bribe of any sort gets perceived at law is for sale (not suggesting it isn't, but that is another story).

Erisel said...

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Arvind said...

Surely the news which I read just now would come as a shock for millions of women. What if the law makers treat this as a way to threaten the women convicts or even those who are suspects. It would force them to perform something that can never be solicited in normal circumstances. Its another way of promoting prostitution in the open. Highly condemned job hope the guilty got their appropriate punishment.

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Anonymous said...

Well it depends on the context of the situation if you ask me.

It could have gone 3 ways....

1. The officer could have said here's your options...Oral or jail time. Bad move.

2. The chick could have suggested it as an alternative to jail time and the officer could have slapped her for bribery as well. Smart move on officer.

3. The chick could have suggested oral in leu of jail time. The officer says sounds good. The chick sues later. (Bad officer, smart lady)

Unless you know the context of the situation you can't assume one is more at fault then the other. Considering we live in a sue all society where people can't manage to work for their money. I'd hedge my bet on the chick setting him up for a failure. LOL the cop was dumb either way.

Anonymous said...

OK so something is wrong here, but there are a lot of situations where a woman could use oral sex as a bargining tool, legally, if she so desired. Say I'm interviewing candidates for a coveted position. If a woman offered me a blowjob, it would probably move her too the top of the list. Guys could offer too, but the hot babe with the short skirt, giving me pussy shots, then sucking my dick to sompletion and swallowing would pretty much seal the deal. Come review time, she could help herself out again by...well you know. nothing wrong with that as far as I'm concerned.

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that officer should arrest him for accepting blackmail through oral sex! that nerve !!!!!

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