- Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office
On Monday, two mug shots of Brock Turner, the 20-year-old ex-Stanford swimmer convicted of sexually assaulting an unconscious woman, were released.
Their release comes nearly five months after Turner was arrested.
The Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office and Stanford University had been passing on whose responsibility it was to release the photos, NBC News reported.
As recently as Monday afternoon, Stanford issued a press release stating that it wasn’t its authority to do so.
“Stanford does not have the authority to release mugshots,” the statement read. “Requests should be made to the Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office.”
Similarly, the sheriff’s office told media outlets that the decision to release the photos was the responsibility of the Stanford’s Department of Public Safety, according to The Cut.
The sheriff’s office, however, released Turner’s sentencing photo on Monday. And later in the evening, Stanford released Turner’s original mug shot.
The mug shot is from the sheriff’s office and Stanford released it only after the sheriff’s office released the wrong photograph, a Stanford representative clarified to Business Insider in an email.
“When Santa Clara County Sheriff decided to release the image yesterday afternoon, they released the wrong photo – his sentencing booking photo, rather than the initial arrest booking photo,” Lisa Lapin, associate vice president of university communications, said.
“Late yesterday, the Sheriff’s office provided the correct arrest photo to Stanford with permission for us to release it and we have done so,” she added.
However, the Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office contends Lapin’s comments. “Yesterday was the first time I was asked by anybody for the photo and I released it when I was asked,” Sergeant James Jenson told Business Insider. “The reason why his the last booking photo was released was because that is the protocol,” Jensen continued, explaining that there was no error in the photo released.
- Santa Clara Sheriff’s Office
Before the release of the photos, frustration had been mounting over the lack of a public mug shot of Turner. Most of the photographs used in news stories were of Turner looking put together and smiling, seemingly at odds with the way other convicted felons are depicted.
Many thought that racism played a part, and that Turner, a white male who attended an elite school, benefited from his background.
“The same mug-shot-hiding privilege would likely not be given to a person of color,” The Cut wrote, when explaining its reason for being the first to publish Turner’s sentencing photograph.
It continued: “As many Twitter users have pointed out, media outlets are much likelier to publish a mug shot and use the term rapist when talking about a black suspect rather than a white one.”
Turner was found guilty of three felony counts for sexually assaulting an unconscious and intoxicated woman in January 2015. Two graduate students saw the incident occurring behind a garbage bin outside of a fraternity house at Stanford University. When Turner tried to run, the graduate students pinned him down until the police arrived.
He was sentenced to six months in a county jail and three years’ probation, which some are decrying as a slap on the wrist. Turner must also register as a sex offender for the rest of his life.