Earlier today, the Santa Clara Sheriff's department released its mugshot of Brock Turner. Here, though, is the booking photo taken the night of his arrest and sent to us by Stanford University's Department of Public Safety, the arresting agency.
Brock Turner, 20, was taken into custody after raping a woman behind a dumpster on Stanford's Palo Alto campus on on January 18, 2015. Though convicted on multiple felony counts, with prosecutors asking for a 6-year custodial sentence, Turner was given only 6 months in jail. With good behavior, he could be out in weeks.
The lenient sentence (he will also spend 3 years on probation and must enroll on the sex offenders' registry) drew much criticism, as did authorities' apparent refusal to release booking photographs of Turner until today. Without access to the public record, most outlets (including Boing Boing) ran a yearbook photo that presented a clean-cut, smiling athlete.
Photographs can influence the public's appreciation of a case, and many criticize police and the media when poor or minority suspects are presented with booking photos, while suspects like Turner end up given the benefit of professional headshots.
Stanford University released a statement today regarding the case, pointing out that it immediately launched an investigation, banned Turner from its campus after his arrest, and praised students who literally brought him to justice.
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.