New Jersey cop arrested for allegedly pulling women over just to ask them out

One common trope you’ll see on television features attractive women getting out of speeding tickets using their tears, leading many to believe being female works to your advantage when dealing with law enforcement. But the pop culture depiction obviously overlooks the very real problem of sexual harassment and abuse by police toward women, which is actually a recurring problem. New Jersey state trooper Marquice Prather recently made headlines for abusing his power to repeatedly pull over women just to ask them out, and while apparently harmless on the surface, Prather’s actions speak to an overarching problem with police leveraging their positions of power to access women.

Thankfully, Prather’s actions haven’t gone unpunished. He was arrested on Friday on charges of third-degree tampering with public records, and fourth-degree falsifying or tampering with records. Prather was suspended without pay and released without bail.

After several women issued complaints about Prather’s behavior, investigators soon found that Prather had a tendency to stop women between the ages of 20 and 35 to ask them to go on dates or for their phone numbers. Additionally, investigators found that Prather would turn off his microphone upon pulling them over and that he attempted to manipulate data to hide that he was targeting a high number of women drivers.

There’s no minimizing the sleaziness of Prather’s behavior, which constitutes discrimination and gross abuse of power by not only wasting the times of speed limit-abiding women, but essentially forcing them to go out with him. He could potentially face three to five years in state prison and a fine of up to $15,000, the Associated Press reports. But Prather certainly isn’t alone in his actions.

After all, many women across the nation have opened up about feeling violated and “humiliated” by police stops and bodily searches, a problem that disproportionately affects women of color. And like Prather, a report by the Associated Press from September highlighted a handful of cases of male police officers using their access to private databases to stalk women and former domestic partners; in a couple extreme cases, the male police officers went on to murder or harm the objects of their stalking. According to one report by the Minneapolis City Pages, one former female police officer discovered more than 100 officers from 18 agencies had accessed her private records 425 times, often just to look at her photo.

There’s no shortage of other cases of male cops using their positions of power to either stalk or make unwanted sexual advances on women. Just earlier this year, one female police officer based in Boston claimed she was fired after reporting her former supervisor for admitting he wished he could take women out of their cars and “rape” them during routine traffic stops while training her, according to The New York Daily News. The former female cop additionally claimed her supervisor had a “rapability” scale that he rated female drivers on.

And of course, how could we ever forget the case of Daniel Holtzclaw, who routinely sexually assaulted African-American women in Oklahoma City, and in December 2015, was found guilty of 18 charges of rape and sexual battery.

Pulling over women to ask for their numbers might not be the same evil as pulling them over and assaulting them, but such acts reflect a tendency among male cops to abuse their power to sexually subjugate women. There’s no shortage of evidence of this problem, so it’s time for society to start taking this seriously.