Is Criminal Assault Unreasonable Police Conduct?
Scalia's New Police Professionals Go "Rodney King" on Sick Motorist

Edward Locke, Jr. of Bella Villa: Profiling Scalia's New Police Professional

In Hudson v. Michigan, Justice Antonin Scalia argued that the exclusionary rule was unnecessary because of "[a]nother development over the past half-century that deters civil-rights violations," namely, "the increasing professionalism of police forces, including a new emphasis on internal police discipline."  The good folks of Bella Villa, Missouri missed that memo.

Edward Locke, Jr. is the police chief in a small Missouri town.  He recently had a close call with the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals. A split panel (2-1) allowed him to escape liability in a case where:

Chief Locke thrust his knee between [Diane's] legs, and while Diane was still leaning on the hood of the patrol car, Chief Locke began to paw and stroke her, beginning at Diane’s waist and moving down to her buttocks. Diane testified Chief Locke was “rubbing down [her] butt onto and around [her] inner/outer thighs, [and then] around the front.” Diane could hear Michael and Walkmaster yelling, but she told them, “I’ll take care of it. It will be okay.” Diane claims Chief Locke then slid his hands under her sweater and began “working his hands up from [her] waist up to [her] sides towards [her] breasts.”

Cook v. City of Bella, No. 08-2712 (8th Cir. Oct. 2, 2009). (This post explains why the Eighth Circuit should rehear Cook en banc.)  Cook v. City of Bella was not Chief Locke’s first run-in with the Eighth Circuit.  A couple of months before Cook, Locke was sued for sexual misconduct involving another woman:

At the police station, Locke interviewed Schmidt regarding her identity. This process included the completion of a booking sheet with information about the arrest and Schmidt’s identification. The booking sheet included a section for listing “scars/marks/tattoos/deformities.” In response to Locke’s inquiry about whether she had any scars, marks, tattoos or deformities, Schmidt indicated that she had a butterfly tattoo. The tattoo is approximately two inches long and is located approximately two inches from Schmidt’s hipbone. The tattoo was hidden by her clothing at the time ofher booking.

After Schmidt described her tattoo to Locke, he requested that she take a picture of the tattoo. When she asked why he needed a picture, he told her that it was for identification purposes. Locke provided Schmidt with a Polaroid camera and asked her to go into the bathroom to take a picture of the tattoo. When she returned with a photograph of her tattoo, Locke examined the picture and stated that it was not good enough. Locke indicated that he would need to take a better picture. Pursuant to Locke’s request, Schmidt unbuttoned her jeans partway and folded theminwards to permit him to take a photograph. He again rejected this photograph asbeing incomplete or otherwise unacceptable. To permit Locke to take an acceptable photograph, Schmidt further unbuttoned her jeans and folded them inwards again.Locke took a second photograph, which he apparently found to be acceptable.

Schmidt v. City of Bella Villa, 557 F.3d 564 (8th Cir. 2009). Does anyone want to bet where that second picture ended up – in the police file, or in Locke’s “stash”?  Locke is one busy police professional.

In Copeland v. Locke, No. 07-CV-2089 (E.D.Mo. 2009) (which is pending before the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals!), Locke allegedly beat up and harassed a female motorist.  I've uploaded the Complaint from Copeland v. Locke here.

Someone within the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals must be wondering what is going on in Bella Villa.  Why hasn't the Department of Justice opened an investigation?  Why hasn't the city fired Locke?  

While the Eighth Circuit wonders what is wrong with Locke, I'm going to wonder how much more misconduct the Eighth Circuit is going to give Locke a pass on.  Some might suggest that the Eighth Circuit gave a bad man a pass because that is what the law required.  That argument lacks persuasive power since Schmidt was questionable under the law; and Cook is dead wrong as a matter of law.