Here’s How Baltimore Police Have Treated Sexual Assault Victims

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The report on Baltimore’s police practices released by the Department of Justice revealed more than persistent racial bias. It also detailed a history of failing victims of sexual assault.

BPD seriously and systematically under-investigates reports of sexual assault, and the sexual assault investigations it does conduct are marked by practices that significantly compromise the effectiveness and impartiality of its response to sexual assault.

That’s pretty damning, but it gets worse. The DOJ found several statements from detectives “suggesting an undue skepticism of reports of sexual assault.”

The detectives would reportedly ask questions of the accuser such as, “Why are you messing that guy’s life up?” One detective reportedly told victim advocates at a party that “in homicide, there are real victims; all our cases are bulls***.” The DOJ also uncovered an email chain between a prosecutor and a detective in which they agreed that a sexual assault victim was a “conniving little whore.”

Further, Baltimore police were found to make “little, if any, effort to corroborate victims’ accounts of their assaults, either by identifying and interviewing witnesses, gathering other types of evidence, or identifying and interrogating suspects.”

Perhaps that’s why BPD’s closure rate for sexual assault cases is half the national average.



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