However low a man sinks he never reaches the level of the police. - Quentin Crisp
The title of today’s column is the motto of many police departments across the United States, and is often painted on the doors of their cars. Unfortunately, what this usually translated into in real life is “To harass and control”, or as written on the police cars in South Park, “To patronize and annoy.” And where whores are concerned, it’s often “to victimize and rape.” We’ve discussed this subject at length before on a number of occasions, so I won’t repeat myself here; it’s just by way of introduction to two news stories involving police abuse of hookers. The first was published last Thursday, February 3rd in the Orlando Sentinel, and is paraphrased here both to update it with Friday’s events and to correct the bizarre bias of the author, who seems to believe that the cop’s shooting of a hooker was a less important story detail than his serious traffic accident in 1995.
Sheri Carter, a 29-year-old escort from Boynton Beach, Florida, died about 8:30 AM Friday (February 4th) after being shot on Monday by Jimmy Dac Ho, a 47-year-old police officer. Ho was arrested on Tuesday and tried to kill himself on Thursday; jail deputies found him hanging in his cell about 5 a.m. and he was taken to Wellington Regional Medical Center in serious condition, where he is being held under guard.
Ho was being held without bail on attempted murder and false imprisonment charges in the January 31st shooting, and with Carter’s death the charge has now been increased to murder. Carter’s boyfriend told police he got a text message from her about 4:21 p.m. Monday, saying that a client was acting “weird and scary”; either he or someone else [the story is unclear] called the police, who found Carter shot in her home and took her to Delray Medical Center in critical condition. She had been shot twice, in the stomach and in the neck, and was paralyzed below the waist until her death. Phone records showed that Ho had contacted Carter prior to her boyfriend’s text message, so detectives went to his home and told him Carter had survived. According to the arrest report Ho appeared nervous, changing his story a few times and claiming to have shot Carter in “self defense”. He said he planned to pay her for sex, but they didn’t have sex; Carter then wanted money and supposedly tried to rob him, and he claimed to have shot her in the struggle.
His employer, Florida Atlantic University, placed Ho on paid administrative leave Tuesday morning, and that afternoon he quit for “personal reasons.” Ho was previously a deputy with the Broward Sheriff’s Office between 2002 and 2004, but was fired in September of 2004 for violating “moral character standards” after pleading no contest to a misdemeanor “disorderly conduct” charge resulting from a domestic battery charge filed by his then-wife, Wendy Jane Ho. According to his Sheriff’s Office Internal Affairs file, Mrs. Ho also said that Ho had threatened suicide during the same general time period. Ho worked for the university police since 2006 and had disciplinary actions in his file that included a two-day suspension in November 2009 for making a student lick clean an elevator security camera lens that he admitted to spitting on.
“Well,” you might say, “clearly this guy was a bad egg. And the shooting was investigated, after all.” And to a degree, you would be right, though I must point out that many cops consider former colleagues who disgraced the force to be fair game. But the second story involves not just one cop but the entire police department of Surrey, England; this is excerpted and slightly paraphrased from an article which appeared last Friday (February 4th) in Harlot’s Parlour:
An abuse of process suit against Surrey Police was filed today at 2pm in Guildford Crown Court on behalf of Hanna Morris; the case aims to stop the prosecution of Ms Morris who reported a violent attack and now faces charges for brothel-keeping and money laundering.
On 16 September 2009, Ms Morris dialed 999 when two identifiable men, one who appeared to have a sawn-off shotgun up his sleeve, barged into a flat used by her escort agency, threw petrol around and threatened to torch the place. Anxious to protect the women who work for the agency, Ms Morris innocently helped the police investigation. Since then, the investigation against the dangerous men has been dropped, but Ms Morris is being prosecuted. Ms Morris gave the Surrey Police information on the understanding that it was needed to pursue the attackers; she was never at any point cautioned that what she was telling the police would be used as evidence against her, and without it they would have no evidence whatsoever. If the judge rules that there has been no abuse of process, Ms Morris will instead ask the court to exclude evidence obtained from her at any proceedings which result from the incident.
Ms Morris’ solicitor Nigel Richardson wrote to Surrey Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) to ask for the prosecution to be dropped as it is “completely contrary to the stated aims of trying to improve the safety of sex workers” and that “it is hard to see how a prosecution in this case can do anything but . . . make would-be attackers more confident in their actions and increase the dangers for working women. . . the prosecution of this offence is likely to directly discourage the reporting of crimes against potentially vulnerable women and thus increase risks to their safety.”
It is possible that profiteering by Surrey Police and CPS is behind this and other recent prosecutions; under the “Proceeds of Crime” law the police keep 50% of assets confiscated during raids and 25% from subsequent prosecutions, with the CPS keeping another 25% and the Inland Revenue the rest. Ms Morris’s home and life savings have been frozen pending confiscation if she is found guilty.
Most Americans know that the federal government has given itself the power to steal the property of those accused of drug offenses, but the parent nation has exceeded its offspring in the tyranny department twofold: Once, by extending license for larceny on the excuse of any “crime” (rather than limiting it to drug “crimes”); and Twice, by giving the power directly to the police so they can more easily case potential victims and thereby concentrate on the fattest. After all, we couldn’t have the Surrey Police chasing hooligans who are very likely poor when they could instead rob a reasonably well-off madam, now could we?