Brock Turner, US student convicted of sexual assault, finally gets his mugshot released

By @chelean on
Brock Turner
Mugshot of Brock Turner Santa Clara County Sheriff

The mugshot of Brock Allen Turner, an American student who was convicted of sexually assaulting a young woman behind a dumpster, has finally been released. The 20-year-old former Stanford University student was sentenced to just six months in prison last week despite the severity of his crime.

Turner’s case has become viral after Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge Aaron Persky sentenced him to only six months in county jail. The judge claimed at the sentencing that a longer jail sentence would “have a severe impact” on Turner.

Social media has been outraged, not only by the lenient sentencing, but by the sheriff’s department’s refusal to release his mugshot as well. As critics have pointed out, if the perpetrator was a person of colour or from a lower income background as opposed to a white, privileged man, his mugshot would have been plastered everywhere from day one.

The Santa Clara Sheriff’s Department initially refused to release the photo without explanation. Media outlets were left with little choice but to use Turner’s university photo, which shows him smiling and in a suit. This upset critics and prompted a growing social media movement using the hashtag #NoMugshot to urge the department to release the photo.

As the New York Magazine explained, the sheriff’s department and the arresting agency, the Stanford Department of Public Safety, seemed to be volleying back and forth the responsibility of who would release the mugshot.

On Monday in the US, however, the sheriff’s department finally released the image, perhaps succumbing to the growing public pressure.

Boingboing.net has also received Turner’s booking photo taken the night of his arrest, sent by the arresting agency.

Turner sexually assaulted unconscious woman

After midnight on Jan. 17, 2015, Turner was seen by two witnesses sexually assaulting a 22-year-old half-naked woman behind a dumpster on the Stanford campus. The woman, whose real name is hidden from the media and is only called Emily Doe, was unconscious at that time. The witnesses, two Swedish grad students riding bicycles, tackled Turner and held him until the police arrived.

Emily Doe was heavily intoxicated and did not regain consciousness until hours later at a hospital.

Turner failed to show regret during his trial, maintaining his innocence from the start and even posing as the real victim of the crime. In March 2016, he was found guilty of three felony charges: assault with intent to commit rape of an intoxicated/unconscious person, penetration of an intoxicated/unconscious person, penetration of an intoxicated person, and penetration of an unconscious person. He has been registered as a sexual offender for life.

Turner’s father defends him

Dan Turner, Turner’s father, has claimed in a letter that his son should not be imprisoned for only “20 minutes of action.” He argued that his son, who was called by supporters as a promising swimming athlete, was “not violent.” His letter was full of worry for his son, saying Turner has been consumed with depression since the incident. Not once did he mention how Turner’s actions have impacted the victim’s life, though.

“That is a steep price to pay for 20 minutes of action out of his 20 plus years of life,” the elderly Turner wrote.

 

 

Stanford University’s statement

Less than two weeks after the incident, the California-based school banned Turner from setting foot on campus. It commended its students for helping with the investigation, adding that the school does not tolerate sexual violence in any form.

“Stanford urges its students to do the right thing and intervene and we are proud of our students for stopping this incident. Many other student witnesses cooperated in the investigation. Once Stanford learned the identity of the young woman involved, the university reached out confidentially to offer her support and to tell her the steps we were taking. In less than two weeks after the incident, Stanford had conducted an investigation and banned Turner from setting foot on campus – as a student or otherwise. This is the harshest sanction that a university can impose on a student,” the statement reads.

Emily Doe’s statement

During the sentencing on Thursday, the victim was given time to address his attacker in court. She read a 7,000-word piece that detailed what she remembered on that night and how she was taken advantage of. The powerful statement has made rounds on social media, eliciting the public’s strong reactions and support for her.

“Lastly you said, I want to show people that one night of drinking can ruin a life,” the victim said. “Ruin a life, one life, yours, you forgot about mine. Let me rephrase for you, I want to show people that one night of drinking can ruin two lives. You and me. You are the cause, I am the effect. You have dragged me through this hell with you, dipped me back into that night again and again. You knocked down both our towers, I collapsed at the same time you did.

“Your damage was concrete; stripped of titles, degrees, enrolment. My damage was internal, unseen, I carry it with me. You took away my worth, my privacy, my energy, my time, my safety, my intimacy, my confidence, my own voice, until today.”

Read the victim’s statement in full here.