Ariel Harrison was pulled over by police in McDonough County, Illinois back in 2019. After being accused of drunk driving, tased, and not even administered an alcohol test, officers brought her to a jail cell – and that’s where the rest of the horrors ensued.
Harrison told them she was terrified of being sexually assaulted there, but the officers forcibly stripped her and brutalized her anyway, leaving her unconscious, naked, and alone. Then, they charged HER with assault of an officer!
Unfortunately, Harrison isn’t alone.
Illegal strip searches are actually not uncommon. And when it comes to sexual assault, which Harrison was afraid of, her fear was well-founded. In fact, “from 2005-2015 [one police officer] … was caught in a case of sexual abuse or misconduct at least every five days.”
And there’s another layer to Harrison’s case.
What would justice for Ariel Harrison look like? Fighting for the end of this vicious criminal legal system altogether? But we can do more than just pondering these questions. We can build community with, and meet the needs of, the Black women and disabled folks in our everyday lives.