The Reason People Do Not Trust The Police: Abduction and Human Trafficking

Having lived and worked in both the Fargo/Moorehead area and Duluth, MN, this story does not surprise me. Sadly, it is far from the first time I’ve run across an article like this. Also, this is neither the first nor the last woman to experience this problem, yet police continue to refuse to take it seriously: Crimes against Native American women raise questions about police response, The Guardian, by Zoe Sullivan (01/19/2016)

North Dakota nightmare: Lake Vermilion woman abducted, taken to Bakken oil patch, The TimberJay, by Marshall Helmberger and Jodi Summit (06/03/2015)

A woman was traveling through North Dakota when she found herself stranded. While contacting family on her cell phone she was abducted:

The man had snuck up behind her while she was messaging friends and family members on her progress and was focused on her laptop computer. It was the last message her family would receive for almost a week.

Somehow she managed to escape:

The following few days, she said, are lost in a fog, as her abductor may have kept her drugged. She woke up to the dinging of an open car door, and found herself lying in the backseat of a beat-up Honda Accord with a missing back window. With her abductor apparently outside the vehicle, she stumbled out of the back seat and crawled away. “I tried to run,” she said, but her vision was blurry. Despite that, she managed to make her way down a steep ditch and her abductor apparently didn’t pursue her, but her memory of her escape is far from clear.

And survived through the help of a Good Samaritan:

While she had begun her ordeal in Casselton, in far eastern North Dakota, after escaping her abductor she found herself in a remote part of northwestern North Dakota. She said she wandered for at least two days, without food or water, before finally being rescued by a North Dakota man, who spotted her wandering across open country near the tiny town of Wildrose.

Then the police do THIS:

While Edith had hoped her experience would help law enforcement officials apprehend a kidnapper and possible human trafficker, she soon discovered that officers at the Williston Police Department had little interest in her story. She said officers refused to take a statement about her abduction. Instead, they ran her own record and found a 2011 traffic violation from Grand Forks still outstanding—and arrested her on a bench warrant for the unpaid ticket.

“I kept trying to tell them that I’d been taken, but they wouldn’t listen. One officer told me I was full of __it and was just trying to get out of the warrant,” said Edith.

According to Edith, the Williston police offered no medical assistance. Instead, they booked her into a holding facility overnight and shipped her to a jail in Minot the following day.

This is just one of the many reasons why people do not trust the police. It’s also living proof that the militarization of the police force is ineffective. When police officers are so distanced from the human beings they are tasked to serve that they can’t recognize a situation for what it is…or take the OPPORTUNITY it presents to capture a REAL bad guy…then there is something seriously wrong.

6 thoughts on “The Reason People Do Not Trust The Police: Abduction and Human Trafficking

  1. This is the problem with state bureaucracies across the world. They are trained on technicalities of their job requirements but are not adequately trained on human, social and environmental aspects of their duties. They are not sufficiently sensitized to be able to analyze complexities of the issues they are dealing with. That is why, even if they are sincere, they can only apply linear solutions to such issues, which will never solve them. Rather, they might further complicate them, and turn out to be worse than the problems themselves.

    • I fully agree. In fact, I often feel conflicted about posting this kind of criticism about the police. As individuals, MOST want to do a good job, and they define their job as catching the bad guys. The sincerity is there. So is the danger and all the training necessary to survive that danger. But the human aspect is equally crucial.

      In short: Catching the bad guys isn’t just about CATCHING them…you also have to know how to identify the BAD guys vs the GOOD ones.

      It’s a tough job, but the human element isn’t an unnecessary ‘extra,’ it’s crucial. I really wish the training and support provided to the police departments the world over would focus less time and energy on getting them weapons and MORE on mediation, negotiation, communication, community building and…all of the stuff you’ve already said in you response. 🙂

      These changes are possible, we just have to make them happen.

  2. I think you nailed it on the head when you related that some police officers have become so out-of-touch with the “civilian” population, that they’ve forgotten about human compassion…it’s as if they have grown a cold, hard veneer that won’t let anything penetrate…on the one hand, I can understand why: they’re job can be a dangerous and thankless one. On the other hand, they swore an oath to serve…everyone. This problem seems to be especially bad in inner city, multicultural communities, and rural communities where Indigenous peoples live nearby. Institutional racism such as that perpetrated by police forces is not likely to improve, unless everyone becomes proactive and shows their outrage, but in a peaceful, justified manner. It goes without saying that we must start with our elected officials, and work our way down, rather than the other way round. Demand that those whom we vote for do something about senseless brutality, random arrests, and unfair incarcerations.

    • Trying to find a way to increase the peace-making aspect to the police force is a challenge. I fully agree with you there! But I suspect the solution will begin on a human-to-human level. Every once in a while I’ll see a news story about a police officer who regularly (without fail, same time, same day) visits a neighborhood just to play ball with the local kids.Or an officer who spends time (regular, predictable, consistent) on the street (on a bike, on foot – NO CAR) talking to the homeless and the local residents. Officers who really get out and get to know the community. Yesterday I ran across a video of a dance at a block party involving everyone in the community, officers in uniform included (they were dancing, not standing around looking mean) – this was the response the local police had to the increased tensions that have resulted from all the shootings. It wasn’t disrespectful, it was just a community coming together – police included. IMO, this is where the real change happens. I agree that elected officials are important and we must get out and vote…and vote carefully (PLEASE do not vote for Trump…please, please please)….but widespread social change is a human to human event. It’s the result of relationships forming, building and solidifying over time.I don’t know how, exactly, we increase the number of officers actively working to establish and maintain community relationships, face-to-face AND improving their own ability to understand and communicate with people from different cultures and races, but that is what we need. Just my 2 cents.

      • I agree…I do not suggest we rely only on our elected officials…that would be a grave mistake (especially now, in an age where they do NOT have our backs, or the best of intentions). It is a community and grassroots effort, including those in the public services sector (most definitely police, firefighters, teachers, and the like) that will ultimately do the greatest good, and provide an example. And then everyone must be motivated to vote for policy makers who best serve the interests of ALL concerned, in the most diverse communities especially. And there is no way in any universe or reality where I would vote for a despot like Trump. That is a promise! Thanks for the response. 🙂

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