Is Your Vagina Drug-Free? Albany's Narcs Want to Know

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Here's an especially sordid and sickening example of abusive policing in the name of the drug war. A young woman driving in the wrong part of Albany gets pulled over by a special, aggressive drug enforcement squad, the Street Drug Unit. As the Albany Times-Union explains:
ALBANY-- The cops in the marked patrol car had circled through West Hill a couple times keeping an eye on their female target. They were part of the Street Drug Unit, an aggressive squad assigned to help rid Albany's neighborhoods of drug dealers and addicts blamed for much of the city's problems. It was early evening and already dark when the patrol car's emergency lights flashed in the rearview mirror of Lisa Shutter's Mitsubishi sedan on Quail Street, just off Central Avenue. Police records show the officers called out a "Signal 38" to alert a dispatcher they were onto something suspicious and about to pull someone over. They would later write in a report that they had pulled her over for "failure to signal," although no ticket was issued, according to police records shared with the Times Union. The actions of police in the minutes that followed would end in controversy rather than with an arrest. They would also leave Shutter, a 28-year-old single mother from Ravena, shaken and angry after one of the officers allegedly inserted his finger into Shutter's vagina on a public street during an apparent search for drugs. When it was over, "I pulled off down the road and I just cried for probably a half hour," Shutter said. "I called my dad. ... I felt like I had been basically raped."
Sounds pretty horrendous, but then, so is the response from the Albany police when Shutter filed a complaint:
The incident has triggered an ongoing internal affairs investigation by the Albany Police Department. But the handling of that investigation has raised questions about whether the department has sought to cover up the incident. Shutter claims Burris Beattie, a commander in internal affairs, dissuaded her from reporting the incident to a civilian police oversight board. The board, which was formed in 2001 in response to community concerns about the handling of internal police investigations, is empowered to monitor cases involving claims of brutality and civil rights violations against any officer. "He said they (internal affairs) would do a better job," Shutter said, recounting her conversation with Beattie. "He said they would like to keep it 'internal' ... that that's how they like to handle things."
Good thing they kept it aware from the civilian police review board, because it would have gotten to the bottom of things, right? Well, maybe not. It seems that the Albany board is as toothless and feckless as the rest of those organizations that are supposed to provide oversight to law enforcement:
Jason S. Allen, acting chairman of Albany's Citizens' Police Review Board, did not respond to a request for comment about whether all civilian complaints against officers are forwarded to the board. Instead, someone from the review board, which maintains an office at Albany Law School, contacted the department two weeks ago and alerted them that a Times Union reporter was asking questions about their policies, according to a police department source.
Let me get this straight: The civilian police review board, which is supposed to keep an eye on police misconduct, but when the board is contacted by reporters about an alleged incident, it doesn't investigate, but instead alerts the department? With review boards like this…But wait, there's more:
A member of the Citizens' Police Review Board, who spoke on condition of anonymity because only the chairman is authorized to make public statements, said some members of the board have privately suspected that the department may be hiding cases of police misconduct. In other instances, the internal affairs reports are so poorly organized and investigated the board has had trouble reaching decisions and often sends them back for more investigation. The board is supposed to appoint a monitor for complaints involving civil rights violations or allegations of excessive force. "Whether the letter of the law says that this should be the process, the intent and spirit of the law mandates that, especially in cases of civil rights violations, they be submitted to us for review," the board member said. "If not this, what do we review? ... The fact they would dissuade someone from reporting an incident and say they would do the investigation better completely defeats the purpose of why we were created."
One of the two officers involved, Matthew Fargione, is the son of a former Albany narc who is a long-time buddy of the chief, James Tuffey. Fargione Sr. used to be Tuffey's boss on the narc squad. The other officer was Nick Abrams. While Shutter said police internal affairs told her one of the officers had been suspended, apparently that is untrue. Here's how it went down, according to the Times-Union account:
The incident unfolded just after 7 p.m. on Dec. 22. Shutter said she'd just finished some last-minute holiday shopping and became confused as she drove through West Hill looking for a friend she'd agreed to pick up that night. Shutter was behind the wheel of a friend's rented car, and said she saw the police car drive past her twice before the stop. The officer at her window grilled her about drug use and hidden crack pipes, she said. "You fit the profile," the officer said, according to Shutter. "You're a white girl in a rental car." She told the officer she had no drugs and offered to take a Breathalyzer test, but he declined to give one, she said. The officer then allegedly reached through her window and plucked Shutter's cellphone from her lap. He scrolled through the personal information in her phone, she said, asking questions about "private calls" and someone named "Mandie," whose name appeared on her contacts' list. Mandie Buxton, 28, who is Shutter's friend since childhood, was at home when her cellphone rang that night. The man calling identified himself as an Albany police officer and asked whether Shutter was supposed to be picking Buxton up that night. "I said: 'What are you talking about?' " Buxton said. "He said: 'You don't know what I'm talking about?' and then he hung up. I called right back and no one answered." Ordinarily, police need a search warrant to seize or access someone's telephone. Before it was over, Shutter was ordered to stand outside her vehicle with her hands on the trunk. One officer searched her body while a second scoured the inside of the car. They also dumped the contents of her purse and asked whether she'd spent her money on crack because her wallet was empty. Shutter said she never consented to a search of her vehicle, her telephone or her body. She said she pleaded with the officer who allegedly slid his hand down the back of her jeans, and inside her underwear, to stop. "I kept saying over and over ... 'If you have to search me, can you bring me to the precinct?' " Shutter said. A female officer was called to the scene and informed Shutter she was there to search her body, Shutter said. The female officer patted her down, lifted Shutter's sweater and felt along her bra strap, and made Shutter open her mouth and lift her tongue. No reason was given. The police found no drugs or other evidence of criminal wrongdoing before allowing Shutter back in her car. "He said 'you're lucky' ... and that I better not drive around there again," Shutter said. Shutter called Buxton and her father minutes later, crying hysterically, they said. Shutter's mother, Sherry, characterized her daughter's encounter with police as a "life-changing nightmare at the hands of an Albany police officer." "Our daughter did not deserve to be so grossly violated and I want the officers to comprehend and be held accountable for violating our child," she said. "I just keep telling her that 'you did not deserve this.'"
One question: How many other women have been sexually assaulted by these criminals in blue? Another question: Is it okay for women to be digitally raped by cops if there are drugs in their vaginas? This story isn't going over too well in Albany, either. Check out the responses by Albanyites (Albanians?) at the Time-Union's blog page.
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Pervert Cops

Sounds like the cops are even more sick than the people they are supposed to be after. This reminds me of your story about the cop who likes to show his penis. It might not be a bad idea to add these kind of stories to, Corrupt Cops! These cops and their so called drug war are just going to far. This sounds like a story from a third world country rather that the US. Why are the people who represent this country allowing this stuff to continue.


BECAUSE they DO NOT represent the people of America!!


LEARN YOUR RIGHTS!!! The only thing these cops did that they were allowed to do was "PAT" her down for their, and her safety. From what I've heard a cell phone is fair game now without a warrant. I believe that an invasive body cavety search needs a warrent. I know damn good and well a vehicle search requires a warrant if there is nothing in plain site. LEARN YOUR RIGHTS!!! If your rights are violated GET A LAWYER!!!.

Power-Corrupted Ani

These cops should be incarcerated and charged with rape. Pure and simple, they illegally searched this woman's car and purse (no warrrant), and then put their hands down her pants, which qualifies for deviate sexual contact charges. No pay, no "at home probation", no nothing. Plain folks like you or me would be hauled away in cuffs, and would be lucky to be able to call a lawyer in the first several hours, much less try to avoid the newspaper headlines of the likes of "Woman Molested By

Eerily similiar to this:

As I was reading it reminded me of a similiar story in which several male police officers forcibly removed the clothing of a women after she had called them for help. There was even video shot that was more disturbing;

This is long and explosive. LIKE DY-NO-MITE.

Gosh, you mean women are molested and raped by men they have every right and reason to trust?

If this goes on in the name of the drug war, then what's all the other rape go on in the name of? Do you think these guys really needed the drug war as an excuse, or do you think having a position of power in a female-objectifying culture gives them enough justification? It could have been any old traffic stop. It could have been any old guy. This woman isn't a victim of the drug war, she's a victim of misogyny and exploitation. Yes, by men who are supposed to protect her from situations precisely like the ones they perpetrated, but so are friends and boyfriends and husbands and fathers and brothers and cousins and mentors and teachers and coaches and pastors and they rape too. They don't just jump out of the bushes and into ours. We wouldn't feel so powerless if that were the case.

On a large scale I do agree the drug warriors try to justify overspending on law enforcement, racial profiling, militarization, and police corruption in general by arguing, ridiculously, that drugs are worse than all of those things. Perhaps if it weren't for the war on drugs, fewer cops would be driving around the neighborhood bored and looking around for some good old fashioned sexual assault to perpetrate. Yeah. All that means to me is that fewer of the rapists will be dressed in blue, and fewer of the victims will be nonviolent drug offenders in prison. Lots of social problems would make progress towards a solution if the government stopped waging the war on drugs. I don't think this is one of them. Maybe just a little.

I wish it was.
I would suggest that people who have managed to read this far without passing me off as a dyke, bitch, or man-hater (thanks) refuse to be okay with things that even passively, jokingly, mistakenly give guys permission to think this kind of thing is okay. It might shock you, but these bad cops learned to behave this way. Nobody stopped them from thinking they're entitled to grope as they please. Also shockingly, most "plain folks like you or me" would not be hauled away in cuffs because most sexual abuses go unreported. Plain folks like you or me would do it again and again to multiple victims and fucking get away with it, no police badge required. All kinds of institutions protect rapists, whoopee. Families, churches, governments, whoopee.

I admire Lisa's courage in coming forward and asserting that she didn't deserve it. You can't get justice for this sort of thing but you can get some fucking validation. Power to her.

Also I think out of respect you should take her vagina out of the subject line. It's bad enough she's been violated for shits and giggles, don't use her to draw attention. It's still that private and beautiful thing no matter what's happened to it and she deserves her dignity. It's not fair because everyone else is desensitized, but I read about hers and I feel it in mine. Call it post-traumatic stress disorder. When's that MDMA research coming to my rescue? My point is, even if you were on my side, if you titled a blog post with "Does your 10-year-old keep money and video games in her vagina?" I might just want to fucking die. On the other hand, I might be moved that you're sticking up for me and screaming in no uncertain terms about what happened. Depends on the day. But those rapists, I say, they have so many excuses for their unwarranted searches. And for what it's worth I'm very glad you're pissed off.

Um, indeed, by the way, I'm still 100% on your side so don't worry about losing my support or anything. I'm just, you know, very personal right now. This is not a cohesive response but it has to be let out. Or maybe that's the lack of sleep talking. I'm sorry but not sorry enough to delete this (yet).

-Rebecca O.
the one from Dare Generation and UMD SSDP and stuff.

Could she by lying?

Is it possible that she has her sights on a settlement with the police department? It's interesting that all these comments immediately assume she is telling the truth. Do you know this woman to be an honest person? Do you know these cops to be liars? I am not talking about your bad encounter with other cops. I am talking about these three people in particular. As soon as I heard this story, I wondered why she didn't immediately come forward. Now maybe she was upset, but she called her father right after. Why didn't her father do more to help her? She tells her father she felt like she was raped and he didn't raise hell. She doesn't say anything for months? There are a lot of questions and a lot of information that doesn't make sense to me.

i hope you get this. I know

i hope you get this. I know these girls personally and i know that the both use drugs. buxtons brother is now i jail for the same. you really do have to wonder why nothing was said the next day. If that is your child you make noise not wait for any amount of time to tell your story.

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