Aug 31 2005

St. Louis Cops To Local Rapists: You Go, Girl!

I know, I know; this one’s so gross even I can’t look at it.

I hold dual citizenship in Austin and St. Louis, but I confess that, owing to pesky laws of physics precluding my being in two places at once, my monitoring of the latter for patriarchally-motivated crimes against humanity has slacked off in recent months. If it had not, I might have noticed sooner that the St. Louis police department has been systematically "shelving" rape complaints filed by prostitutes and drug addicts, and that the review panel convened to investigate this triumph of the misogynist’s art was more or less paid off by the department to sweep it under the rug. Fortunately, my old homies Becker and Tony Patti, whom some of you may recognize from their patriarchy-blaming comments on this here blog, are on the case, and have alerted me to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch’s reportage on the subject.

It turns out that, in order to "lighten investigators’ load and make it appear they were solving a higher percentage of cases," [1]  the cops elected in many cases not to file actual police reports of prostitutes’ rape complaints. Instead, the Bad Lieutenants preferred to embrace the dude-affirming habit of writing "informal memos," which of course they then used to make paper airplanes. A year or so later (well in advance of the expiration of the statute of limitations), these memos would be introduced to patriarchy’s beloved instrument of history-cleansing, the paper shredder. This went on for at least twenty years "during a time in which the
city’s rape totals steadily dropped to a fraction of those in similar
cities." [2] This kept the rapes off the FBI’s radar and the rapists out on the streets. Upshot:  Manly cops look like crime-solving heroes, rapists continue exercising their male prerogative, and whores and addicts get brutalized, thereby preserving the natural order of things.

Thus far, similar police encouragement of serial rapists has been discovered in Philadelphia and Atlanta, but St. Louis is the only city where the investigation resulted in a cover-up by "independent" panelists who turned out to be on the department’s dole. Nice. Under Georgia law, the Atlanta dicksmokes responsible for "failure to uphold the law" face felony charges, but there is no corresponding law in Missouri, so the STLPD will probably just throw a gala ball to honor all parties concerned.

If anyone gives a rat’s ass about serial violence perpetrated against Midwestern women to the apparent smirking delight of law enforcement, here’s a link to the entire St. Louis Post-Dispatch oeuvre on the scandal.


Skip to comment form

  1. Sam

    I don’t know if not losing my horror over men’s insane distrust and belittling of womenkind is good or bad sometimes. My jaw hits the ground even as it’s muttering, “of course”.

  2. lacalda

    In the early 90s some friends and I uncovered similar actions on our university campus. We raised lots of hell. Some pricks’ careers were prematurely shortened. It was a beautiful thing.

    Every time I see publicity claiming only one or two rapes reported on a campus in a year, I know that there is systematic lying going on and that women are being victimized.

    This is horrifying.

  3. Summer

    A Gala Ball? Perhaps. Maybe they’ll even spring for another new shoppin’ mall.

    Anything to keep the city looking pretty.

  4. Finn

    I live in StL.

    This rape coverup story made my stomach turn.

    But, it’s hard to know which way to turn in StL. If you had expressed doubt about the decreasing crime statistics in the city, you would’ve been labeled a racist.

  5. AndiF

    I followed the link and read all the Dispatch articles. The police department deserves unbridled condemnation and the Dispatch should get commendations from the community.

    The police force there has clearly been taking lessons in specious logic and disingenuous rationalization from the Bush Administration. My vote for Most-Like-Iraq-War-Justifcation-In-Spirit were the claims built on the rape victims being too upset to be coherent or cooperative. And I’m guessing that in cases where the woman was calm, they decided the rape must be “unfounded” because what woman would be calm if she had been raped.

  6. Twisty

    But, it’s hard to know which way to turn in StL. If you had expressed doubt about the decreasing crime statistics in the city, you would’ve been labeled a racist.

    So I’m curious, Finn. Was there any “you’re a racist” blowback that you’re aware of when the Post first broke the story?

  7. ae

    What Sam said. Thud.

    I’m feeling weepy today thinking about cold, wet old people and cold, wet poor people in LA and the world over, and this just put me over the edge. I need to sleep for about 100 years.

    Twisty, thanks for your outrage. I feel just a little less crazy because of it.


  8. metamanda

    Ugh, I’m from St. Louis too (but not there anymore). But knowing how things tend to work there, lemme guess… a disproportionate number of these women were black?

  9. Twisty

    Well, Metamanda, since there are only about 16 white people who actually live in the city, I believe yours is a safe assumption.

  10. Finn

    “So I’m curious, Finn. Was there any “you’re a racist” blowback that you’re aware of when the Post first broke the story?”

    No, not that I’ve seen.

    I should’ve amended my earlier comment to say:

    If you had questioned the diminishing crime stats you would’ve been branded as a racist or a cop hater or both.

    The ongoing story previous to this investigation was one of overall diminishing crime statistics. We all wanted to believe it. Nobody wants to rain on a parade. And, everyone had something to gain by the numbers being lower. The police, obviously, had something to gain. The city itself – which has a disproportionate population of African Americans compared to the rest of the nation – had much to gain in terms of perceptions.

    So, if you looked around and thought, “hey, it doesn’t look any less criminal around here than it did before… what gives with these stats?” well, you’d better keep that to yourself.

    So, for once, I’m proud of the Post for breaking a story that isn’t a warm fuzzy local puppy down the well is returned to safety kinda thing. I am a bit surprised, but I wouldn’t also be surprised to find out later on that they cooked their numbers, too, in order to get a better story. Like I said before, you can’t be sure which way to turn.

  11. markw.livejournal.com

    Bringing this back outta the archives to mention that rape reports in St Louis are up 20 percent, now that cops can’t throw the reports away anymore.


  12. Twisty

    Well, color me shocked. Someone in St Louis dares to concede that prostituted women can be raped.

Comments have been disabled.