Cops Took It Too Far With The Hookers, Citizen’s Review Board Finds

Posted on May 16, 2012


Utah (The Gaslamp Post) – She’s on top of you, breasts in your face, nipples smacking you in the eye; what’s a vice cop to do?  That was pretty much what a Salt Lake City vice detective wrote in a report he filed last year, after a sting operation aimed at prostitution.

Another under cover detective reportedly touched the vagina of a gal while getting a massage.

And yet another groped the legs of a different masseuse, while trying to talk her into taking her top off.

All of these cases have landed in front of the Salt Lake City Police Civilian Review Board.  In those instances, the officers are arguing that their “touching” wasn’t inappropriate, because it was the only way to “prove” that prostitution was occurring.

In the case of the cop whom had a face full of yum-yums, he claimed that it wasn’t his fault since he was on his back and underneath the prostitute.  He had no where else to put his face, according to the Salt Lake Tribune.

The review board isn’t buying it, citing obvious procedure violations.  Apparently the detectives forgot that there is a “no-touch” policy in place.

In addition to that, in the case where the masseuse was asked to work topless; she refused.  Then a short time later, police entered the establishment and searched purses.

These actions have led to police department Chief Chris Burbank breaking up the squad.  The detectives were all reassigned and the duties once performed by the unit, have been reassigned to others.  Chief Burbank said that the detectives involved were all disciplined, and either received written action or were made to undergo training in proper police procedures.

The sergeant overseeing the squad received a 60-hour suspension, for failing to train and supervise his people.

“This may be an individual failure but it also may reflect some feeling of pressure to produce ‘statistics,’ i.e., cases made, no matter what policies are in place,” wrote the review board.

According to the Salt Lake Tribune, the detective violated the masseuse’s fourth amendment rights by touching her vagina.  She later reportedly told the review board investigator, that she believes she was sexually assaulted.  According to Chief Burbank, “It did not rise to criminal conduct.”

Another reason that Burbank decided to break up the unit was because of how prostitution has changed in recent years.  Where before there were street walkers, today most are using the internet.  “Also, many prostitutes enter the trade because they are victims of human trafficking or have a substance abuse problem,” said Burbank.

(h/t:  SLTrib)