Police Abuse

Alameda County Sheriff Sued for Forcing Women To Take Pregnancy Tests

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super-structure

The Alameda County Sheriff's Department has a policy of requiring that every woman under 60 taken into custody submit to a pregnancy test. This, argue some wome who were forced to pee on a stick, is a violation of their privacy, and they're working with the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) to put an end to the practice.

While the protocol is intended to provide the arrestees with necessary medical care, it doesn't seem to work that way in practice. One plaintiff, Nancy Macias, who was detained during a political protest in 2012, said that "being forced to submit a pregnancy test against my will was not about my health. It was invasive, offensive, and humiliating." KTVU reports that "while [Macias] was forced to undergo a pregnancy test, she also told authorities she was diabetic and needed insulin. In her part of the suit, she claims her request for medication was ignored" and "she agreed to take the test only after she was threatened with transfer to Santa Rita jail."

"I was intimidated and bullied by the female officer who was processing me. I felt completely violated. We don't want other women to go through this," one of the plaintiffs who remains unnamed told the Oakland Tribune.

The San Francisco Chronicle shares the sheriff's side of the story:

On Monday, Sgt. J.D. Nelson, a sheriff's spokesman… said [the departmen] had been sued in the past for not conducting pregnancy tests. Nelson said the office settled the suit, at least a decade ago, by making the tests mandatory. He did not have further details on the case or the opposing parties.

"If you tell us that we have to test people and then tell us that we can't test people, what can we do?" he asked.

The ACLU's answer is that the tests should be voluntary, because compulsory testing impinges upon the arrestees' Fourth Amendment rights. The lawsuit, which they filed on Monday, explains:

the test violates arrestees' right to privacy" and "constitutes an unlawful search and seizure under the state and federal constitutions; and it violates… the California Code of Regulations, which requires jails to allow mentally competent inmates to refuse non-emergency medical care and mandates that all examinations, treatments and procedures conducted in jail accord with the same informed-consent standards that apply outside of jail.

"As far as we know, Alameda County is the only county in the state that is doing this," Elizabeth Gill, a senior staffer with the ACLU of Northern California told the Associated Press, which also reports that "the organization has corresponded with the sheriff's office about the issue for several years."

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  1. Would it make you feel better if instead of peeing on a stick they were killing rabbits?

    1. What does your affair with Glenn Close have to do with anything?

      1. Fist will not be ignored!

        1. You two are ignorant of women’s health science.

          1. FoE’s business card says “Amateur Gynecologist. And professional Analrapist.”

  2. Does anyone have details about the previous lawsuit where they *had* to give pregnancy tests?

    1. Did some pretty serious Google-fu and came up with nothing. I think the sheriff is lying. Quelle surprise!

      1. He’s just stretching the truth, probably: They were careless with a pregnant prisoner, miscarriage ensued, lawsuit dictates that they provide appropriate medical care to every pregnant woman they arrest.

        Being the psychotic asshole that the job description requires, he decides to forcibly test everyone.

  3. [the department] had been sued in the past for not conducting pregnancy tests. Nelson said the office settled the suit, at least a decade ago, by making the tests mandatory.

    This is your democratically elected government at work. Their remedy for mistreating one person is to change the policy to mistreat them all.

    1. Their solution for bad judgement is to eliminate judgement entirely. That’s government for you!

      1. Look, we all know that anything not mandatory is prohibited, and vice versa.

      2. I’d rather we were ruled by NOMAD.

        1. The creation of perfection is no error.

  4. She got off easier than the Texas women who get a roadside fingerbang after being stopped for littering.

  5. “I was intimidated and bullied by the female officer who was processing me. I felt completely violated.

    “…but the full body cavity search was fine. In fact, I kinda liked that.”

    This reeks of that “check yer privileges” bullshit.

    1. Shit. Forgot to close the tag.

      PREVIEW!!!

  6. “If you tell us that we have to test people and then tell us that we can’t test people, what can we do?” he asked.

    It is incredibly revealing that it never occurs to this doofus that someone other than him should get to make the decision.

    1. “If you tell us that we have to test people and then tell us that we can’t test people, what can we do?” he asked.

      What this moron doesn’t grasp is that there is a middle ground between mandatory and prohibited.

      As in, keep a box of the tests handy, ask each female inmate if they would like to take a pregnancy test, and if they do, give ’em a pee stick. If they don’t, don’t.

      I know. Frickin’ rocket surgery. How is a poor overworked sheriff supposed to come up with that all on his own.

  7. The solution: Pregnancy tests for some, tiny American flags for others.

    1. lol’d

  8. Maybe they could hire that female C.O. from the New Mexico jail that thought pepper spray was good at removing hidden contraband in women. Maybe she could teach them how well it works in detecting pregnancies.

    I mean, Hell, they obviously need someone with the ability to think in new directions.

  9. we must move forward, not backward; upward, not forward; and always twirling, twirling, twirling towards freedom!

    1. Hmm that was meant to be a response to Andrew S.

      1. That was pretty gay, jesse.

        1. Wait, why?

          1. Only gays “twirl”. Straight people spin.

    2. It’s true, we are aliens. But what are you going to do about it? It’s a two-party system. You have to vote for one of us.

      1. Well I believe I’ll vote for a third-party candidate.

  10. There goes Maury Povich’s chances at winning the election for town sheriff.

    1. And this was supposed to be a reply for jesse…

      /looks around suspiciously

  11. At least they aren’t forcing virginity checks! yet.

  12. PoPo: Please breath into this sir.

    Citizen: No.

    PoPo: Alright, lets head on downtown. You know, for your own safety.

  13. It really is true – anything not forbidden must be mandatory.

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