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Sometimes the police are not your friends

Who Protects Kids from Predatory Police and Prosecutors?

The parents were acting to protect their daughter, and discipline her, if necessary. The police were trying to build a case for a criminal prosecution. Those objectives were irreconcilable, which is why the parents should have either refused all cooperation, or insisted on being accompanied by an attorney during their meeting with the police.

At police headquarters, the parents were shown two photos that had been printed by the girl’s classmates. In one, she was wearing shorts and a sports bra. In the second she was wearing shorts while using her hair to cover her chest. Neither of the pictures involved nudity or met the statutory definition of pornography.

The officers, exploiting the concerns of parents whom they were seeking to ensnare, asked them to identify the young woman depicted in the photos.

In response to that question, a reasonably perspicuous attorney (who should also have made an audio recording of the meeting) would have told the parents not to answer, and then told the officers: “Those photographs are not evidence of a criminal offense. Do you have any evidence that their daughter has committed an offense?”

When the officers failed to produce that evidence, the attorney should have responded, “Then we’re finished here,” and escorted the parents from police headquarters. The parents had no legal obligation to help two uniformed predators make a criminal offender out of their child.

Acting with the devious subtlety of a child molester grooming a potential victim, the officers beguiled the parents into incriminating their daughter. When the parents left, they later recalled, they were incredulous that the photos were the subject of a police investigation. Smugly satisfied that their deception had succeeded, the officers blithely assured the parents that they and their daughter didn’t have anything to worry about.

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