Chicago Police Department is investigating a former sergeant after a transgender woman accused him of forcing her to perform oral sex under threat of arrest.
According to documents obtained by the Chicago Tribune, the woman, 39, accused the sergeant of stopping her in a neighborhood known to be popular with sex workers on March 5.
The woman — who later told detectives that she was not there to do sex work and was with her boyfriend — said that the sergeant asked what she was doing in the area, to which she said that she was going home.
The sergeant then allegedly told her that he would arrest her if she didn’t perform a sex act on him.
He allegedly told her “that’s what you do,” and said he could “make you one of my regulars.”
She said the sergeant ordered her to get into his car. He then drove off, leaving her boyfriend behind.
He allegedly parked the car in an alleyway, exposed himself, and told the woman to perform oral sex on him. She told detectives she complied due to fear.
After the alleged assault, the woman went to Rush University Medical Center, told staff she had been sexually assaulted, and then provided DNA evidence that she said was obtained from the sergeant without his knowledge.
She also gave four numbers to staff that she said were written in magic marker on the sergeant’s computer.
The woman, who has not been publicly identified, left the hospital without being tested by a rape kit or speaking to police.
She later told detectives that she feared retaliation from the police, saying the alleged assault had “really fucked her up,” the Tribune reports.
Police found the woman three weeks later on March 29, after she was arrested on shoplifting charges. She detailed the alleged incident to detectives, including a description of the officer, the DNA evidence, the numbers on the computer, and that the officer had closed his dash-mounted computer during the alleged assault.
Chicago Police Department confirmed that on April 6 it had stripped a sergeant of his powers. According to a police spokesman, the sergeant then retired, ahead of previously announced plans to retire mid-April.
However, no criminal charges have currently been filed over the alleged assault.
The Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office wouldn’t confirm whether it was investigating the officer, and police said they are still awaiting the results of a DNA test as part of their investigation.
Local activists noted the gender and racial aspects of the alleged incident, as well as the power imbalance between the woman — a trans woman of color — and the officer, who is white.
LaSaia Wade, executive director of Brave Space Alliance, a black- and trans-led advocacy group, said the nature of the alleged assault was disturbing, given the police officer’s position of authority.
Rev. Marshall Hatch, a pastor in the city’s West Side, told the Tribune that the allegations would only harm relations between the police and Chicago’s black community.
He added that the “power dynamic is so disparate between a potential arrestee and an arresting officer,” and said, “It’s never morally right. It’s a corrupted use of police power.”
In a tweet responding to news of the alleged assault, the National Center for Transgender Equality wrote: “A horrifying 1 in 8 trans sex workers report a police officer has coerced them into sexual activity.”
NCTE also referenced its report into America’s 25 largest police departments and their policies towards trans people, noting that Chicago Police Department “has work to do.”