On June 19th, Ashley Scirrotta, recently 21, attended an event at Shakas on the Virginia Beach ocean front. The 21+ event, called Grime Time, was one of the first outing since her recent birthday that she had been able to experience the ‘adult’ night life. As you may have heard, the adult night life can be swirling panorama of ecstasy and danger, in places you may not have even known they could exist. This was the case for Ashley, who learned right from the start that the some of grimiest time takes place wherever badges can be found.
I went with my boyfriend to the bar and I got slighty intoxicated, but not enough where I was incoherent. I went to the bathroom and when I came out my boyfriend was nowhere to be found, so I figured he might have gotten kicked out, went outside to smoke, etc. So I go outside to look for him and start heading to his car, I didn’t remember what street it was on so I was just kinda searching in the direction I thought it was. I then decided to walk back to the club to see if he was waiting for me. Then I contacted the front door men and they said he wasn’t in there. So I head back to search for the car again and I run into a guy I saw staring at me at the bar, we spoke and I let him know I was looking for the guy I was with. Suddenly this woman police officer (OFFICER EL SLYE – BADGE NUMBER: 233262 – VBPD) asked the guy I randomly was walking with if he knew me, and he stated no and then I told the cop he did know me to try and keep it moving and he said no again.
Officer E.L. Slye then put Ashley under arrest for public intoxication. Ashley says that during the arrest the officer repeatedly handled her in an unnecessarily rough manner that left the many bruises on her arms that you can see in the photos. At no point was Ashley ever ID’d or read her rights.
By the time she got to booking, after being grabbed, squeezed and tugged by officer Slye, Ashley was very upset. She tried to explain to the people there what the officer had done. Furthermore, she pleaded with them and explained that she has severe anxiety, for which she is treated. Even after she explains the fragility of her emotional state, the officers there began to taunt and tease Ashley, terrorizing her for her mental health issues and ‘excessive crying’ with statements like-
Oh, you wanna call your mommy?
You are annoying.
The officers continued to make taunting statements and gestures and laughed at her throughout the process. Ashley says that facility cameras recorded all of this and she is hoping to gain access to that footage.
When she was being transported to jail she noticed other women, one who had a DUI (a more ‘serious’ crime), had not been shackled at the ankles as she had been. The shackles were too tight and were cutting into her Achilles tendon. When she asked why she was the only one in shackles she was told, “We ran out.” When she said she was unable to walk in them, the dragged her along, forcing her to walk in tremendous pain.
Ashley was then held overnight in jail. She was released without incident, aside from snide remarks, the next morning. She told me that the officers made her feel as though she were an animal. Even while she pleaded with them for their humanity, they were insulting, degrading and abusive to her. Their handling of her felt more like the way a rancher might handle young livestock than a fellow human being might handle another person, especially while supposedly serving the public safety and well-being.
I sometimes wonder if the most basic problem with police is not merely that it is a job. Especially one within the service industry. If it were allowable, I could imagine almost any worker in the service industry, especially fast food or hotels, doing these sort of things to customers that rubbed them the wrong way. At my last job my boss and co-workers measured my temperament towards customers with the ‘rusty shovel’ level, which was a 1-10 scale of how close I was to beating a person to death and decapitating or disemboweling them with a rusty shovel.
Everybody is potentially annoying to somebody else. The big difference is, most of us don’t have a badge which allows and instigates us to do the perverse things we conjure up in our frustrations to real human beings. All too often, because cops are just humans (and often sociopathic or psychotic ones), they do those things most of us only fantasize about as a coping device.
Ashley was a victim of police abuse, but indirectly, perhaps she was a victim of the existential angst accompanying human beings into a new era of their being. If we cannot evolve past the sort of brutality that regularly victimizes people in the name of public service, then we may not afford ourselves the chance to evolve at all, let alone survive our own mindless violence.
You can call the VBDP Chief’s Office @ (757) 385-4141 and share your thoughts on their departments abuse of Ashley.