One day after a woman slipped out of handcuffs in the back of a Fresno County Sheriff’s SUV, drew a concealed handgun, and traded shots with deputies, Fresno Police Chief Paco Balderrama, whose department is investigating the incident, said:
“It’s not uncommon that a female suspect, you know because they are a little bit more limber, smaller hands, they sometimes can slip out of their handcuffs.”
Indeed, the same day — Aug. 12 — that Balderrama addressed the incident making national headlines, an Oklahoma woman escaped her handcuffs, grabbed an AR-15 in a deputy’s vehicle, and shot a deputy and a civilian bystander, resulting in injuries that weren’t life-threatening.
The Oklahoma woman, Rachael Zion Clay, 36, surrendered to authorities and is being held on $1 million bond.
As for the Fresno suspect, Mariah Spate, 30, she was wounded by a deputy and is being held in jail without bail. She faces multiple felony charges.
Watch: Suspect Slips Handcuffs, Shoots 2 in Oklahoma
Do Women Regularly Escape Police Handcuffs?
Was this a coincidence, or do women regularly escape handcuffs after being arrested?
Well, on Aug. 17, a woman slipped her handcuffs and escaped from a Bronx precinct only to be arrested later by NYPD fugitive enforcement officers.
Last month a North Carolina woman suffered major injuries when she escaped her handcuffs, lowered a rear window, and jumped out of a moving police car.
In June of last year, a South Carolina woman took off running from the back of a police car and when authorities caught up to her she had one hand free of the cuffs.
That happened in Hartsville, South Carolina, where four years earlier a woman got out of her handcuffs in the back of a patrol car and tried to damage the vehicle.
This chilling case happened in November 2020 in Alabama’s Calhoun County. A handcuffed woman in a deputy’s cruiser wriggled out of one of the cuffs, produced a Glock, aimed at the deputy, and pulled the trigger. Fortunately for the deputy, there wasn’t a round in the chamber. He then shot and killed the suspect.
Bottom line: All police agencies should ensure that officers are trained to properly secure limber or small-wristed suspects — regardless if they are a man or a woman.