Women Victims of Alleged Police Misconduct

04May09

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As a resident of the town of Greece (near Rochester, NY) I was particularly disturbed to hear about more bad news and misconduct coming from the Greece Police Department, especially in regards to the treatment of women.

According to a May 2 article on the Democrat and Chronicle Web site, a Hilton woman has filed a lawsuit against the town of Greece following several incidents involving a particular officer who happens to be under a great deal of speculation in regards to another Greece Police scandal.

“On Thursday, Holly A. Manville sued Sgt. Thomas Schamerhorn, now-suspended Police Chief Merritt Rahn, and the town of Greece, among others, in federal court. Manville claims Schamerhorn used excessive force and fondled her during traffic stops,” according to the Democrat and Chronicle.

The article goes on to say that Schamerhorn allegedly kicked Manville’s feet out from beneath her during a traffic stop in October 2004 and then fondled her during a traffic stop  in June 2007.

According to the article, another woman filed a lawsuit against the town in 2001. In this incident, Elia Visconte alleged that she needed surgery on her wrists following a traffic stop in 2000 during which she was handcuffed by Schamerhorn. A settlement was reached and the town of Greece paid Visconte over $200,000.

While these are merely allegations, the claims absolutely sicken me. What is a woman to do when she feels intimidated by the police officers who are meant to serve and protect her? As far as I know, there are no female police officers working for the town of Greece.

Power and control are at the heart of patriarchal dominance and violent acts committed against women. Police officers, in particular, are generally endowed with much power and control. Using this control to take advantage of another person is not just morally wrong, but in this case it is a criminal act. No man is above the law, and that includes those who enforce it.

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