cop accused of rapeSAPDAnother cop whose alleged actions and history of misconduct make the case for zero tolerance for police officers.  Officer Jackie Len Neal of the San Antonio Police Department was arrested for allegedly raping a 19-year-old woman he pulled over at 2 in the morning. Neal allegedly told the woman her car was reported stole (she produced a sales slip), ordered her to get out of the car, and patted her down despite her request for a female officer. He allegedly then handcuffed her, placed her in the back of his patrol car and raped her. Neal will continue to be paid until he is indicted, and was released on $20,000 bond. The police department should have the power to dismiss him immediately as they see fit; even the perception of impropriety or criminality can make an officer unfit for service. What’s more, Neal had been the subject of sexual assault complaints before. Via My San Antonio:

Police Chief William McManus said a different woman made a similar complaint against Neal a few years ago. The date of that incident was not immediately available.

McManus said that woman later refused to cooperate in a police investigation, so it wasn't pursued. There were no consequences for Neal at the time.

McManus said he has asked officers to go back to that woman to see if she would be willing to help in the new investigation.

Neal was suspended in September for three days for dating an 18-year-old member of the Police Explorer program about two years ago. The program is meant to encourage young people to consider a career in law enforcement.

Officers are forbidden from fraternizing with members of the program for people 14 to 21 years old.

The San Antonio Police Department should not have been hampered by a union contract from dismissing Neal after the initial rape complaint or after the clear violation of policy with regards to the youth program.

The SAPD should be commended for moving to act quickly on the latest complaint, and for their attempt to revisit the prior allegation. It doesn’t always happen that way, with prosecutions of cops being both notoriously rare and late. In Kentucky, for example, it took nineteen years and a seven-year-long state police investigation to get to this week’s arrest of two former Oak Grove cops for the 1994 murder of two local prostitutes whose madam publicly accused corrupt cops of the killings. Oak Grove’s mayor called the charges the “tip of the iceberg,” pointing out that other police officers may well have known what happened.

And just today, the schools superintendent in Steubenville, Ohio was charged with obstructing an investigation into the rape of a teenage girl by three high school football players, a rape that would’ve likely remained uninvestigated were it not for the attention given to it by online activists and local bloggers, one of whom may face more prison time than the alleged rapists he exposed,  and another who successfully fought off defamation charges related to her coverage of the case. Reason TV interviewed her attorney earlier this year, which you can watch below: