Winston Salem, NC — A Winston-Salem cop has been arrested and fired this week for alleged sexual battery while on duty. Winston-Salem Police Department Patrol Officer Harry L. White III responded to a call for service at a local hotel and is accused of sexually assaulting a woman he encountered inside.
According to police, on Feb. 20, White was responding to a ‘911 Hang Up’ call at the Best Western Plus University Inn at 3050 University Parkway. White was on the scene for an unspecified length of time before he cleared the call for service. Only four minutes after White gave the all clear notification, the Winston-Salem Police Department received a call from a woman who encountered officer White while he was on the call.
The woman told officers that officer White had sexually assaulted her while responding to the call.
After the woman made the call, field commanders for the patrol division responded to the hotel to investigate. The responsibility for the investigation into the allegation of criminal conduct against Officer White was assumed by detectives in the Special Victim’s Unit of the Winston-Salem Police Department’s Criminal Investigations Division, reports FOX 8.
Since Feb 20, White had been on paid administrative leave as authorities investigated the alleged assault. On Monday, authorities charged White with aggravated sexual battery and he was taken into custody at the Forsyth County Detention Center without incident.
He was then granted a $2,500 unsecured bond and released.
White was with the department for 12 years from 2005 to 2017 but resigned and moved to the Town of Chadbourn where he served as the chief of police. After serving as police chief for less than a year, White resigned without explanation and returned to Winston-Salem.
After the arrest, Police Chief Catrina Thompson released the following statement:
Good morning Winston-Salem, it is with deep regret that I must inform you that my trust, as well as the trust of the citizens of Winston-Salem and the City of Winston-Salem Government, has been violated by former Police Officer Harry L. White III. In my commitment of transparency to you, I want to inform you of the circumstances that led to Mr. White’s separation from the Winston-Salem Police Department and his pending criminal charge.
On February 20, 2020 at 1:38 am, Winston-Salem Police Department Officer Harry L. White was on duty and in uniform and responded to a “911 Hang Up” call for service at the Best Western Plus University Inn, located at 3050 University Parkway. Approximately four minutes after Officer White cleared from the call for service, the Winston-Salem Police Department was notified of an allegation of a sexual assault by an adult female committed by Mr. White during the call for service.
Supervisors from my Patrol Division immediately responded to the hotel and based on the allegations, transitioned the investigation to Detectives from the Special Victim’s Unit of the Winston-Salem Police Department’s Criminal Investigations Division. Mr. White was placed on administrative leave and the criminal investigation has been on-going and active since February 20, 2020.
In consultation with the Forsyth County District Attorney’s Office, our Detectives have criminally charged Mr. White with Sexual Battery. Earlier today Mr. White was taken into custody at the Forsyth County Detention Center without incident, and has separated from his employment with the City of Winston-Salem Police Department.
I must apologize to you for this behavior of one of my former personnel, but I will not tolerate this type of assault on one of our citizens by a Police Officer. Please rest assured that I hold our personnel to high standards, because I know that is what you expect of me and of your Police Officers.
Thank You for your continued support of your Winston-Salem Police Department and I, together with the leadership of the Police Department, apologize again to you for this breach of your trust.
Sadly, as TFTP reports on a regular basis, White’s case is anything but isolated.
In a sample of 158 police officers who’ve been charged with sexual assault, sexual battery, or unlawful sexual contact with somebody under their control, at least 26 have been acquitted or had charges dropped based on the consent defense, according to a Buzzfeed review of a Buffalo News database of more than 700 law enforcement officers accused of sexual misconduct.
These numbers are indeed startling.
“Cultural shifts happen, but what we need to see is a policy shift,” said Terra Burns, an advocate in Alaska who has worked to expand police sexual assault laws. “There’s a long entrenched history of institutionalized rape culture that has to change.”
Indeed, one need only browse through our archives to see the brutal reality that is police sexual misconduct. Arguably, the reason it is so pervasive is the fact that they can get away with it with little to no consequences.
Unfortunately, while the actual laws written in the United States against rape appear harsh, at first glance, in reality the cops, the prosecutors, the judges, and eventually juries go soft on pedophiles, especially pedophiles who wear a badge.