NYTimes: A Warrant to Search Your Vagina by Andrea J. Ritchie:
Doubling down on the drug war is likely to result in increased violence, not increased public safety. The damage these policies have done to black communities has been well documented. But less attention has been paid to the ways that women of color specifically are targeted in drug cases and are subject to abuse or assault by police officers.
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As is true in most industries, women are largely relegated to the lower echelons of the drug trade. They have been aggressively prosecuted on the theory that they would lead law enforcement to elusive “drug kingpins.” Yet because they had little information to trade, they were often saddled with sentences much longer than those of men higher up in the industry.
Then there are the police encounters that lead to these sentences, which are often characterized by physical, sexual and sometimes deadly violence.
The infamous former Oklahoma City police officer Daniel Holtzclaw — convicted in 2015 of 18 counts, including the rape and sexual battery of black women — often ordered women to lift their shirts or open their pants to show him they were not carrying any drugs. In another notorious case, four women arrested on drug-related charges came forward to accuse two Los Angeles police officers of coercing sex from them. Research suggests that drug law enforcement is too often accompanied by such sexual shakedowns, in which women — who may or may not be using, carrying or dealing drugs — are given the choice between performing sexual acts or facing what could be decades in prison.