LAPD officers who took advantage of their power imbalance to commit sexual assaults fit national trends, says prominent criminologist.
LAPD officers Luis Valenzuela and James C. Nichols sexually assaulted a woman at this McDonald’s parking lot, located at 405 N Alvarado St. at W. Temple St. in Los Angeles. They were on duty using a black Jetta. Photographed on Monday, Sept. 23, 2019. (Photo by Cindy Yamanaka, The Press-Enterprise/SCNG)
By Olga Grigoryants | firstname.lastname@example.org and Sarah Favot | Los Angeles Daily News
PUBLISHED: November 12, 2019 at 10:03 am | UPDATED: November 12, 2019 at 10:03 am
Criminologist Philip Stinson has spent more than a decade studying bad cops and oversees a national database that often explains exactly how they came to violate their sworn duty.
Often, Stinson says, the power imbalance between a police officer and the civilians they encounter leads some astray.
Police officers regularly come in contact with vulnerable people who are “subject to the power and coercive authority granted to police,” said the criminal justice professor at Bowling Green State University in Ohio, who is a nationally recognized expert on police behavior and misconduct.
Prominent among such criminal activity are sex-related crimes, he says.
“There’s a lot of power and control that comes with the gun and the badge in terms of being able to coerce people, specifically women and girls,” said Stinson, himself a former police officer in Virginia and New Hampshire.
Additionally, circumstances related to police work make it conducive to committing sex-related crimes.
Many police officers, Stinson says, are free from direct supervision while they are on patrol and sometimes work alone. Also, many police interactions occur late at night outside public view.