The facts are not in dispute. A female prisoner at the Olympia jail was ordered to disrobe in a manner constituting a clear violation of state law. The three correctional officers, all male, refused her reasonable and legal request that she would comply in the presence of a female officer, with no males observing. They not only threatened, but in fact used a Taser on her to force her to disrobe in their presence. More seriously, these admittedly illegal acts were committed against a woman in their custody.
The city argues that its municipal employees are protected by the doctrine of “qualified immunity.” What warped interpretation says that it protects their clearly illegal acts? Anything can be extended out to its point of absurdity.
It seems to me the doctrine is intended to protect good faith administration of their legal duties; but not their illegal acts. If my belief is incorrect, some legislative changes need to be discussed immediately.
Legal issues aside, I do not believe for one second that these actions reflect the core values of this community. Neither does this twisted interpretation of “qualified immunity.” The use of a Taser to force a woman to disrobe sounds a lot like sexual assault and battery. The message sent to all city employees — that illegal acts are acceptable — is dangerous at best.
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I urge our elected city officials and especially the city attorney to reconsider and drop the frivolous defense of this lawsuit and legally administer all city responsibilities.