Sexual harassment comes in many forms, and undoubtedly, someone saying, “show me your breast or I’ll tase you,” is one of them. Allegedly, Police Officer Brandon Carter of the Haskell City Police Department, made this demand as he chased a helpless woman through her workplace in Haskell, Arkansas. “Show me your breast or I’ll tase you,” were the words he used to threaten Ashlea Bennett if she didn’t comply with his sexual request. If her allegations are true, then Officer Carter isn’t living by the credo that police officers vow to live by…which is… “to protect and serve,” but rather one of his own devise and choosing.
Although the particulars of her workplace environment aren’t known at this time, the specifics of the incident can be found in recently filed Court documents. Ms. Bennett has filed a Civil Suit for punitive damages for violation of her civil rights. This is but one of several charges for which she is suing the City of Haskell Arkansas. She is also suing for sexual harassment.
Court documents were filed on Oct. 29, 2013 in Arkansas Eastern District Court by Ms. Bennett’s attorney, Clinton W. Lancaster. In her Complaint, she stated that Officer Carter demanded that “she show him her breast” several times. She further alleges that Carter became angry when she didn’t comply, and threatened her, saying “if you don’t show me your breast I’m going to tase you.” As Bennett unceasingly refused his demands, Officer Carter un-holstered and withdrew his taser from his utility belt. As she continually refused, he pointed the taser at Ms. Bennett, threatening her again. Realizing that he sought to make-good on this threat, Ms. Bennett frantically sought flight; as Carter vehemently pursued her, with taser in hand.
According to Ms. Bennett, this is not the first time that the disgraced officer has made inappropriate demands and lewd sexual comments to her. Bennett stated that on several past occasions Officer Carter had asked her to expose her breast; but each time she spurned his advances.
Haskell, Arkansas is small community with a population of fewer than 5,000 people. It is nestled in Saline County, which is 30 miles south of Little Rock, Arkansas. Though it’s not a buzzing metropolis, it has its share of crime. According to Haskell Crime Rates and Statistics, the 2012 crime statistics for this small town are a matter of record:
- Haskell is safer than 48.4% of the cities in the nation.
- The crime rate in Haskell is less than 60% of the cities in Arkansas.
- The estimated chance of being a victim of a crime in Haskell is 1 in 63.
- The estimated chance of being a victim of a violent crime in Haskell is 1 in 585.
- The estimated chance of being a victim of a property crime in Haskell is 1 in 70.
In comparison to the crime rate of many larger cities, Haskell, Arkansas may seem like a nirvana to some; then again, maybe not. Whether the crime is rape, murder, vandalism or whatever, we all want to feel safe when we dial 911 and wait for the Calvary to arrive. In critical and unnerving times, we’re hoping to be aided by the good guys in uniform…and not abused by the bad guys who promised to “protect and serve” but somehow fell down on the job… and stayed there.
By: DeBorah Heggs-Alston