Did WA Vice Officers Go Too Far In Prostitution Probe?


Police in Lynnwood, Wa., concede they engaged in “rarely used” tactics during an undercover investigation into a suspected prostitution ring, reports the Seattle Times. Those tactics, which included officers allowing prostitutes to masturbate them in exchange for cash, have raised questions among law-enforcement officials, legal experts, and the Snohomish County Prosecutor’s Office. “The officers didn’t cross that line of engaging in intercourse or oral sex,” said police Commander Paul Watkins said. “I advised them no oral sex, no intercourse, that’s not going to happen. That’s the understood policy. There’s no written policy regarding this.”

Law-enforcement officials not involved in the investigation say the usual tactic, calls for an arrest once someone agrees to perform a sexual act in exchange for money. John Strait, a Seattle University law professor, said what the Lynnwood officers did is not illegal in an undercover investigation, but he calls it “very bad policy.” “This is the equivalent of [undercover] cops doing drugs,” Strait said. “I think very few narcotics officers toot crack, shoot heroin, do coke and marijuana. Here they are doing the same thing they are busting for.”

Link: http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/2002545187_prostitutes07m.html

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