Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Can a cop’s baton accidentally slip into a man’s anus?

I doubt it.

A French police officer has been charged with rape after a black man who was being arrested suffered severe anal injuries.

After witnessing an officer slap someone, the 22-year-old had allegedly approached a group of policemen. The victim claims he was handcuffed, called names, and beaten. He says his pants were lowered and he felt pain in his buttocks.

At the police station another officer noted that he was covered with blood. He was taken to a hospital and diagnosed with the anal trauma which required “major surgery” including a colostomy. The family was told incontinence may result.

Doctors said the injury had been caused by a police baton which had been forced into his anus.

The Washington Post quoted the findings of a police investigation: “The violent sodomy was accidental and occurred when the officer’s expandable baton happened to slip into the victim’s anus.”

According to another story, “a French police union spokesman said there was no evidence so far that ‘the truncheon was actually introduced’ into the victim's rectum. And if that actually happened, it was likely done ‘accidentally.’”

A third story said, “a lawyer for the officer charged with rape said ‘the blow had been carried out in a totally involuntary manner, without his being aware of any injury.’” The word “his” must be referring to the officer because I have no doubt the victim was quite aware.

Based on my 40+ years of experience as a surgeon, I can assure you the police version of the incident is highly implausible. A patient who does not wish to undergo a rectal examination by a physician with a gloved and lubricated index finger can easily prevent it from occurring by voluntarily contracting his anal sphincter and gluteus muscles.

I would imagine a healthy 22-year-old man would react in exactly the same way if a policeman’s baton “happened to slip” with the end anywhere near his anus.

The incident has sparked many protests in France and has been widely reported by news media. Of the several accounts I have read, not one has asked a surgeon to comment on the nature or possible cause of the injuries.

Bottom line: A police baton slipping into a man’s anus is about as likely as a man accidentally falling on a woman and penetrating her.

From International Business Times
Thanks to @Tosk59 for the tip on the International Business Times story.


Korhomme said...

Is the title of this blog piece a rhetorical question?

No; it is a QTWTAIN

A "Question to which the Answer is No".

I'd say it was next to impossible.

Anonymous said...

Oh my. That poor man.

I think I would have a hard time being an ER doc after seeing this.

Skeptical Scalpel said...

Kor, it's hard to say "Never," but in this case I would say it could never happen.

Yes, ED docs see some bad stuff. So do surgeons.

artiger said...

Wow, and people here in the US think our law enforcement people are bad.

Of all the rectal foreign body retrievals I've had to do over the years (and there have been several), I've never gotten the excuse that someone "fell on it". Mine have ranged from "I lost a bet" to "Man, doesn't it speak for itself?".

Skeptical Scalpel said...

Artiger, I have heard "I fell on it" at least 2 or 3 times. Even through clothing.

The Lunatic Fringe said...

I'd be interested to know what you think of CCTV footage of this event, which was just made public two days ago.


The footage shows a violent altercation between the cops and the youth in question. The entire skirmish lasts only a few seconds, and the youth is fully clothed the entire time. Under these circumstances, it seems exceptionally hard for the cop to have actually aimed at the youth's rectum, considering that he would have had only a second to deliver the blow, through the youth's clothing, while attempting to subdue him.

Of course, it is possible that he managed to hit the guy at exactly the right (wrong?) spot. But my question is: could such injuries be caused by mere blunt force trauma? In other words, if the baton had merely landed on or near the rectum, without actually penetrating it?

Skeptical Scalpel said...

I don’t speak or read French so the captions are of no help. There is no way a baton could have accidentally entered the man’s rectum through his clothing. No way.

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