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Albany, NY police allegedly sexually violate woman during 'traffic stop'

Beyond speechless — as if police sadism with Tasers isn’t enough to give you agita, look at what occurred during a traffic stop in Albany, NY:

It was early evening and already dark when the patrol car’s emergency lights flashed in the rearview mirror of Lisa Shutter’s Mitsubishi sedan on Quail Street, just off Central Avenue.

Police records show the officers called out a “Signal 38” to alert a dispatcher they were onto something suspicious and about to pull someone over. They would later write in a report that they had pulled her over for “failure to signal,” although no ticket was issued, according to police records shared with the Times Union.

The actions of police in the minutes that followed would end in controversy rather than with an arrest. They would also leave Shutter, a 28-year-old single mother from Ravena, shaken and angry after one of the officers allegedly inserted his finger into Shutter’s vagina on a public street during an apparent search for drugs.

When it was over, “I pulled off down the road and I just cried for probably a half hour,” Shutter said. “I called my dad. … I felt like I had been basically raped.” The incident has triggered an ongoing internal affairs investigation by the Albany Police Department.

Even worse, Shutter is watching the wagons circle…read on, it gets worse after the jump.

One of the officers at the scene, Matthew Fargione, is the son of a former Albany police narcotics lieutenant, Thomas Fargione, who is a longtime friend of Chief James W. Tuffey. Fargione headed the drug unit for years when Tuffey was a narcotics detective in the 1980s and early 1990s, and the two men also worked together for the State Emergency Management Office.

…A member of the Citizens’ Police Review Board, who spoke on condition of anonymity because only the chairman is authorized to make public statements, said some members of the board have privately suspected that the department may be hiding cases of police misconduct.

…Shutter said she grew increasingly unnerved by her experience with internal affairs — which is known as the Office of Professional Standards — because male detectives twice requested she wear clothes from the night of the incident to re-enact the body search.

Tuffey declined to comment on a list of written questions submitted by the Times Union last week, including why internal affairs officials didn’t assign a female detective on Shutter’s case.

This is an outrage — why, you might ask was Shutter really pulled over? According to the officers on the scene, they told her she “fit the profile.”

The incident unfolded just after 7 p.m. on Dec. 22. Shutter said she’d just finished some last-minute holiday shopping and became confused as she drove through West Hill looking for a friend she’d agreed to pick up that night.

Shutter was behind the wheel of a friend’s rented car, and said she saw the police car drive past her twice before the stop.

The officer at her window grilled her about drug use and hidden crack pipes, she said. “You fit the profile,” the officer said, according to Shutter. “You’re a white girl in a rental car.”

This an outrage beyond belief. Here is the web page for the Albany Police Department. Note the ironic mission statement.

It is the mission of the Albany Police Department to serve all people with integrity and respect, while enhancing the quality of their lives. The department is committed to the service of the community through efficient and effective policing, maintaining the highest level of integrity, ethics and honesty while promoting the professionalism of departmental personnel and treating the public with respect and dignity regardless of an individuals demographic background.

Hat tip, Feministing.

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Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding