Woman Arrested, Strip Searched Over Traffic Ticket


While obviously an infraction of the law, motorists rarely consider the possibility of jail time when rolling through a stop sign. For a resident of Richland Hills, Texas, however, that is exactly where she ended up.

When Sarah Boaz received a traffic citation for failure to stop at an intersection in August, she apparently let the responsibility lapse and did not pay the associated fines. She was surprised, however, when a city marshal showed up at her house Wednesday with a warrant for her arrest.

Claiming she lost the original ticket, Baoz admits she was negligent. Her treatment as a result, though, has struck many as a major overreaction.

“I guess it was just frustrating to me,” she explained, “that a bill that I pay a month late I end up in jail for.”

Expressing her view that “nobody puts out a bench warrant after 60 days,” Boaz said the harsh conduct began in earnest when she was booked into jail.

Boaz recalled authorities telling her, “‘I’m going to need you to undress. I’m going to need you to stand against the wall,’” and acting “aggressive toward me.”

A local lawyer, Jason Smith, commented on the matter. Explaining that, while ordinances allow for the arrest and strip search of someone in Boaz’s position, authorities rarely impose such punishments.

“The constitution doesn’t keep the government or government officials from using common sense,” he explained. “Unfortunately, some police officers, some governments get overly aggressive because they want that ticket revenue.”

Law enforcement officers have an unquestionably stressful job and cannot be expected to act perfectly in every circumstance. Handling a traffic offense in such a draconian manner, however, illustrates what some see as an uncomfortable rise in police overreach.

Considering the Department of Homeland Security recently announced it would spend $80 million to hire federal armed guards to patrol the streets, wariness regarding an encroaching police state might justified.

–Western Journalism staff writer

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