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Woman strip-searched, thrown in jail over unpaid traffic ticket

Thursday, October 31, 2013 by: J. D. Heyes
Tags: strip-search, unpaid traffic ticket, abuse of power

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(NaturalNews) The way police treat suspects in some cases is so totally - and obviously - unwarranted, that you wonder just how much more crazy it can get.

Take the recent case of a North Texas woman who was handcuffed by officers, told to strip naked and then booked into jail - for an overdue traffic ticket.

As reported by CBS-DFW:

It was just a ticket. Sarah Boaz was cited in August after an officer said she ran a stop sign.

Boaz lost the ticket, but said she knows it was wrong not to have paid it right away. Despite those missteps, she also says she never expected a late fee or penalty to land her in jail.

It happens in every city, every day, at just about every intersection. Drivers roll past stop signs, and through stoplights. But getting caught, and getting a ticket, is nothing compared to what Boaz got.

"I guess it was just frustrating to me, that a bill that I pay a month late, I end up in jail for," she said.

'Nobody puts out a bench warrant after 60 days'

That's to say at the very least. But jail wasn't the worst thing. Apparently, the cops felt the need to humiliate her as well.

According to the report, Boaz said her expected trip to work the morning of her bust never happened. The unpaid ticket caused the Richland Hills Marshal to make a trip to her house with an arrest warrant.

"I'm like, nobody puts out a bench warrant after 60 days. Why would you do that? You wouldn't do that," she said.

Only, they did.

Boaz said even when she arrived at the jail in cuffs she still did not believe what was happening. But then, shortly after her booking, a female officer began to give her instructions. She says she remembers the officer saying, "'I'm going to need you to undress. I'm going to need you to stand against the wall. Please don't step in front of this white box, or I'll take that' [as an act of aggression] toward me. Obviously I am going to jail."

The local CBS affiliate said its reporters investigating the incident learned that it was standard procedure to make anyone in custody strip naked at the Richland Hills jail. In an email to the news team, "the North Richland Hills Police Department said though Boaz was forced to undress, the search is not considered a strip search," CBS-DFW reported. "In that email they said, 'She was given a dress out. Before they go into the cell they are taken by a detention officer of the same sex to a private room with no cameras. They have to remove all clothing and they are given a jumpsuit. The officer searches their clothes, at no time does the officer touch them.'"

Not just a fine, but an arrest record too

As for the personal visit by the marshal, well, Richland Hills is so small that it only has one marshal. So unpaid tickets don't sit around for months at a time, like they often do in larger cities.

Jason Smith, an attorney interviewed by the news team, said the city is under no legal requirement to jail people over unpaid tickets.

"The constitution doesn't keep the government or government officials from using common sense. Unfortunately, some police officers, some governments get overly aggressive because they want that ticket revenue," he said.

Municipal court officials interviewed for the story said Boaz was sent two reminders to pay her ticket. She says she never got them.

Only an arrest record.

A apropos footnote: Shortly before the story broke, Boaz's husband got a ticket for failure to stop at a stop sign.

Our advice? Pay it early.





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