Editorial: An ugly situation in Strasburg

Shameful. Insensitive. Ill-advised. Unprofessional.

These ugly words were used in a special prosecutor’s report issued this week in an adult protective services investigation regarding allegations of police abuse, neglect and exploitation stemming from a late night visit to a town resident’s apartment by three Strasburg police officers.

According to the report, the officers went to the resident’s apartment uninvited.

They woke him up around 11 p.m. and spent 40 minutes in his apartment, taking “selfies,” hanging photos and, the report quotes the resident, making “some nasty comments” suggesting he “needed some girls in the apartment.”

Now, eight months after this incident and investigations conducted by the Page County Department of Social Services and the Virginia State Police, the special prosecutor has cleared the officers of any criminal wrongdoing, but she lambasted them for their conduct that night, saying it was “grossly ill-advised and evidencing obvious arrogance and a disrespect” for the resident.

News of this incident may never have been disclosed to the public if the resident hadn’t told his caretaker about what had happened and if that caretaker hadn’t turned to Social Services to look into the matter.

And now there’s a wrinkle in a story that’s beginning to read like a bad telenovela script. A political reason for this public brouhaha has been raised.

Whatever is going on, bad police behavior, political intrigue or smoke and mirrors, one thing is for sure. The prosecutor’s report and potential civil litigation over the matter have peeled back a layer of ugliness for all to see.

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