January 12, 2014
A 27-year-old Los Angeles pharmacist has sued the Los Angeles Police Department over injuries she sustained when she was thrown from a moving squad car. The New York Daily News reported that Kim Nguyen says she fell from the car as she struggled to escape sexual assault by a police officer.
“He was grabbing my left inner thigh, trying to — I’m assuming — opening my legs,” she said in her deposition about the incident.
Horrifying surveillance video shows a half-naked Nguyen tumbling from the police car into the street. She was badly injured and only regained consciousness when she emerged from a six-day medically induced coma.
Her injuries included a badly broken jaw, a brain concussion and soft tissue injuries all over her body.
The nightmare began when she and two male friends were waiting for a cab at 2:00 a.m. outside a restaurant in Los Angeles. The trio, Nguyen said, had been drinking.
A squad car pulled up to the curb and officers handcuffed her and bundled her into the back seat, saying she was being arrested for public intoxication. The car pulled away from the curb without either of Nguyen’s companions.
According to Nguyen’s deposition, one officer remained in the back seat of the squad car. He fondled her chest and yanked her head around by the ears before pulling up her skirt and trying to force her legs open.
It was then, she said, that the door behind her abruptly swung open and she was thrown from the vehicle.
Her attorney Arnoldo Cassillas said to KCAL that his client spent two weeks in the hospital with her jaw wired shut. All of her teeth were shattered in the fall and had to be pulled. She is suing for criminal negligence.
The LAPD told KCAL that it does not comment on pending litigation.
Ok so this is my post. Sex workers who do sex work by choice do exist. Sex workers who enjoy their jobs do exist. Sex workers who feel empowered by their jobs are out there and exist. But do not speak as if they are the norm and they speak for all us current and former sex workers. As a Black genderfluid person who has done sex work to survive rather than live in complete poverty and in circumstances I did not want to live in, that was my choice. But it was a choice that was funneled through my gender, my race, my status as a felon, my status as someone without a lot of financial capital, my status as a queer person.
The options available for Black and brown girls to do their dream jobs, to never sacrifice their pride, to never do jobs they do not want to do are few and far between. Sex work is sometimes an avenue that provides us revenue or a way to survive. It is not always our top choice. But like many Black and brown women do regularly, we swallow our pride to feed ourselves, our family, our loved ones, pay bills, whatever.
Capitalism and white supremacy and patriarchy are disgusting. Anti-blackness is disgusting. These things place beautiful human beings in positions where they have to do things to make money and to survive they don’t always want to do. But that doesn’t make us less. Just because you would rather clean toilets or work at McDonalds or write or sell photos or whatever rather than fuck or dance or massage or whatever other sex work some of us might do to survive DOES NOT MAKE YOU BETTER THAN US. you made your choice based on the limited choices you have. sex work isn’t inherently dirty or bad. treating women like objects are. murdering women (trans* and cis) for being involved with sex work is wrong. treating us like we are less than you because we have sex or do other sexual activities is wrong. men who think they can get our services for free are wrong. locking us up is wrong.
If you want to ask about sex work and you aren’t in the field, make that clear. If you want to learn from us, you better make sure that’s what you want. And at the end of the day, sex workers of various backgrounds have various opinions and views. I do not speak for all sex workers. No one sex worker does. Someone who is a Black trans* woman and doing full service sex work in DC might have a bunch of different things to say on the topic than I as a Black perceived women but genderfluid middle class chunky stripper/service via the strip club industry sex worker. Regardless tho, we are humans. We are worthy. We are beautiful. We are hustlers. We are survivors. And none of you non sex workers are better than us. None of us. Respect our words and respect our boundaries and when you don’t, you are worse than a lot of people who already treat us like garbage just for being us.
quoting myself because i can. don’t even be fucking w/ sex workers, former and current. just don’t.
I decided to become a human rights activist when I realized how easy it was for officials to make a decision and force women to be examined in the most intimate parts of their bodies. Russian officials should not stay unpunished, they cannot have this kind of absolute power over us.
Maria Alyokhina, one of the recently freed Pussy Riot members on her prison sentence, including forced gynecological examinations almost every day for three weeks.
Alyokhina & bandmate Nadezhda Tolokonnikova were freed from prison after nearly two years for singing a song about Vladimir Putin in Moscow’s main cathedral. The two were released as part of an amnesty initiated by Putin and backed by the Russian parliament last week, which is timed to coincide with the 20th anniversary of the Russian constitution. The women qualify because they have young children.
Alyokhina told Russian television that had she been given the chance, she would have turned down the offer of amnesty, and served out the remainder of her sentence, which was due to finish in March.
December 25, 2013
A New Mexico woman claims in a federal lawsuit that she underwent a brutal and inhumane six-hour full-body cavity search by federal officers that included anal and vaginal probes that made her feel like an “animal.”
The woman, a Lovington, N.M. resident, also is suing University Medical Center, where she was forced to have an observed bowel movement, was X-rayed, had a speculum exam, vaginal exam and had a CT scan.
The suit claims the hospital “violated her” and then gave her the $5,000 bill.
The lawsuit names the El Paso County Hospital District’s Board of Managers, University Medical Center, Drs. Michael Parsa and Christopher Cabanillas, two unknown supervising U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers and two other CBP officers only identified by their last names of Portillo and Herrera as defendants. The doctors and the agents could not be reached for comment.
The 54-year-old woman, who is not identified in the suit, is asking for an unspecified amount of money and to end the policy that gives federal agents and officers the authority to stick their fingers and objects up people’s cavities when they search for drugs.
The lawsuit was filed Wednesday by the American Civil Liberties Union in federal court in El Paso on behalf of the woman who was stopped as she crossed at the Bridge of the Americas a year ago. Despite the six-hour search at the port and then later at UMC, no drugs were found.
The woman is identified as Jane Doe in the lawsuit.
According to the lawsuit, the woman was first frisked and strip-searched at the port of entry, where officers stuck their fingers inside her rectum and vagina. When that search came up negative, she was taken to University Medical Center.
"These extreme and illegal searches deeply traumatized our client," ACLU of New Mexico Legal Director Laura Schauer Ives said in the news release. "The fact that our government treated an innocent 54-year-old woman with such brutality and inhumanity should outrage all Americans. We must ensure that government agents never put another person through a nightmare like this ever again."
A spokesman for U.S. Customs and Border Protection said in a prepared statement that the agency could not talk about a specific lawsuit.
"As a practice CBP does not comment on pending litigation," the statement said. "CBP stresses honor and integrity in every aspect of our mission, and the overwhelming majority of CBP employees and officers perform their duties with honor and distinction, working tirelessly every day to keep our country safe. We do not tolerate corruption or abuse within our ranks, and we fully cooperate with any criminal or administrative investigations of alleged misconduct by any of our personnel, on or off-duty."
University Medical Center also declined to get into specifics of the lawsuit.
"Hospital policy is to obtain consent from all patients who receive medical services at UMC," spokeswoman Margaret Altoff-Olivas said in a statement. "Because this case involves litigation, UMC will not be commenting further."
The search took place at about 2 p.m. Dec. 12, 2012, when the woman was coming back from seeing a family friend, whom she calls “uncle” and tries to visit once a month.
As her passport was swiped, a CBP officer told her she was “randomly” picked for a secondary inspection, where Portillo and Herrera frisked her through her clothing.
"One of the agents ran her finger over Ms. Doe’s genital area during the frisk," the lawsuit said.
Then the woman was told to squat as one of the officers “inserted her finger in the crevice of Ms. Doe’s buttocks.” The frisk did not show any evidence of contraband or drugs, the lawsuit said.
Then the woman was told to stand in a line with other people as a drug-sniffing dog walked by.
The officer with the dog “hit the ground by her feet, but did not hit the ground by any of the others in the line,” the lawsuit said. “The dog responded by lunging onto Ms. Doe and landing its front paws on her torso.”
Ives said she does not believe this was a proper signal to indicate a drugs were present, but officers used it to continue the search.
The woman was taken to another room and asked to take off her pants and crouch as her anus and vagina were examined with a flashlight, the lawsuit said.
The woman, now crying, was taken to University Medical Center after the strip search did not find anything.
"During the car ride to the Medical Center, Ms. Doe asked if the agents had a warrant," the lawsuit said. "One of them responded that they did not need a warrant."
While handcuffed to an examination table, the woman was searched again by both officers and Cabanillas and Parsa. She was given a laxative and had a bowel movement in a portable toilet in front of both officers, the lawsuit said.
Then the woman’s abdomen was X-rayed, but there were no signs of drugs or any other contraband in the woman’s body. A speculum was used to probe her vagina and Parsa’s fingers were used to inspect both her vagina and rectum while the door to the examining room was left open, the lawsuit said.
At this point the lawsuit claims, “Ms. Doe felt that she was being treated less than human, like an animal.”
The last test was a CT scan of the woman’s abdomen and pelvis, which resulted in no evidence of illegal activity being found.
The lawsuit said after the CT scan one of the officers told the woman she could sign the medical consent form and CBP would pay for the exams, but if she did not sign, she would be charged. The woman refused to sign and eventually she was charged more than $5,000 for the examinations.
According to the lawsuit, she repeatedly refused to consent to any of the searches.
University Medical Center’s search of patients policy states, “Associates, members of Medical Staff, Residents or Allied Health Professionals may search a patient only when necessary to comply with a search warrant.” Under the subhead procedure, the policy states, “…unless a patient consents, an invasion of the patient’s body to obtain evidence requires a search warrant.”
A warrant was not obtained, the lawsuit said.
"However, in practice, the Medical Center staff and CBP agents routinely conduct invasive cavity searches without warrant, consent or sufficient suspicion to justify the searches," the lawsuit said. "When Ms. Doe expressed dismay about the unreasonable searches she suffered, a Medical Center employee responded that these procedures were routinely followed when an individual is brought in by CBP agents."
In a phone interview, Ives said searches like the one the 54-year-old woman went through are illegal and becoming common among law enforcement.
"When the less intrusive search didn’t find any evidence of drugs, more intrusive searches should have not been used," Ives said. "Any one of those searches should have eliminated any suspicion of drugs. A second search should make it clear and at most a third search should have been the last."
She said: “The fact that this happened to a 54-year-old woman should outrage anyone. She did ask to talk to an attorney and she did ask for a warrant. I don’t know what guarantees there are to our rights other than a lawsuit like this one that hold the government agencies responsible.”
Last month, a Deming man sued Deming police officers who gave him three enemas, two anal probes and a colonoscopy after he was suspected of having drugs. The search found nothing, and lawyers for the man said the warrant used to conduct the search failed to show probable cause.
I can’t even say how bone chilling & terrifying this story is to me. I’ve passed through these border checkpoints hundreds of times, & this could have happened to anyone at any time for no reason at all. CBP agents are some of the biggest scum of the earth.