TAMPA, Florida (Reuters) - A woman who told police she had been raped was taken to jail because of an outstanding warrant and denied use of a morning-after pill to prevent a potential pregnancy, the woman's lawyer said on Tuesday.
The 21-year-old woman told police she was grabbed by a man and raped on Saturday afternoon after she left a parade.
After police officers took the woman, whose name was not disclosed, to a health clinic they found she was named in a warrant from a juvenile arrest in 2003 in nearby Sarasota, police said.
The woman was put in handcuffs and taken to jail. She was released on Monday afternoon.
The woman's attorney told reporters that while she was in jail she was prevented from taking an emergency contraceptive, the so-called morning after pill.
Tampa Police Chief Steve Hogue said in a statement that he was revising the department's arrest policies to give supervisors more discretion in similar situations.
"When I learned that the victim of a sexual battery was arrested on an outstanding warrant, I was very concerned that our policy did not allow a greater degree of discretionary latitude," Hogue said.
No arrest has been made for the rape but Hogue said the investigation was continuing.
The woman's mother told The Tampa Tribune newspaper her daughter was outraged by the treatment she received at the hands of local police.
"You've got to make sure you throw somebody in jail on a 4-year-old felony warrant after they've been brutally raped?" the mother asked.
"It was a failure to take the actual dynamics into play," she said.
OK, I can understand they took her to jail. My ol' friend, Karma can be a little unfair at times. But she had a felony, repeat, felony warrant. I do however, think that she should never have been denied the "Morning After Pill." That is the juncture, where they went from a lack of understanding or compassion, to full tilt brutality. I mean the law is the law. It is for you, me, every body. We must abide by these rules/laws or we pay a consequence. I am more than familiar with this premise. I do hope, that after this incident, they have some sort of ruling and consider a more humane way of handling things. I imagine this scenario does not happen often. But in a sense of fairness, I can understand the officers taking her in to custody. After all, if they'd let he walk, it would have been a miscarriage of justice, right? Maybe, she has a victim, from the crime she committed? But I do believe they could have handled this differently, right? Especially, not providing her with the morning after pill. Now, I imagine that they do not have access to or provisions for this type of situation, at the jail. But was she not at a hospital, where they do have the pill?
Really, how often does this happen? But it could and it did and it's a shit sandwich, she had to much, for sure.
As I read this, I felt for her and can only imagine, not only being raped but then sent to jail. I think she had a really bad, bad day. If there's such a thing as the shittiest day ever, she had it. I don't know what her crime was? Should that play in to this scenario? Should there be concessions or a weight concerning how you are treated? Now, that question probably does not make sense but if you just weighed it out, you know, "should people be treated differently?", depending on the severity of their crime, you are human. But as a Law Enforcement Officer, you are supposed to remain impartial. As a C.O., in a Prison setting, you are to remain impartial, right? But it is also just like telling the jury, after they've just heard an extremely incriminating statement, to "Disregard the Statement, " it really can't be done. You can tell me, that I am wrong but I have seen the "Human Factor" in action. You really can't have Law Enforcement, weighing in the severity of a crime and playing judge and jury, so I think the Officers had to do their job. I feel bad for this rape victim, been there, done that. I feel even worse that she was unable to receive the morning after pill. I hope we may learn from this awful situation. It could, can and very well may happen again. I hope they'll institute, in their crime codes, a provision to deal with such a situation in the future.
How do you feel about this? What is your opinion?