Cops Having Sex With Detainees Should Always Be Considered Rape, Say New York Politicians

When New York City Council Member Mark Treyger read about Anna Chambers’s case, he was appalled. News of the alleged rape of an 18-year-old by two undercover detectives from the New York Police Department while she was detained in their car was disturbing enough. When the Brooklyn City Council member learned that officers Eddie Martins and Richard Hall had claimed that the sex was consensual, and that consent in police custody was even a possibility under New York law, he was moved to action. Both officers were indicted on first-degree rape charges on Monday, but for Treyger and others, the very idea that a consent claim was legally possible remains a problem.

The alleged rape of Chambers (the teen’s online pseudonym) has shed light on a flaw in the New York penal code. As I reported for The Intercept, sex between an arresting officer and a detainee in custody is not necessarily rape under law. The law recognizes that no consensual sex can take place between prison guards and their inmates, or parole officers and parolees, but fail to cover police with detainees yet to be placed in cells.

That’s the legislative gap Treyger, along with colleagues on both the city council and in the New York state house, are working to fill. He is drafting legislation that would make sexual consent for arresting officers a legal impossibility.

“People are shocked that this is not already a law,” said Treyger, who told me that there was a “coalition” of his colleagues both in city council and lawmakers at the state level who, struck by the Chambers case, are eager to see a swift change in legislation. New York City Council cannot change rape laws alone; Treyger’s bill could at most introduce police rape in this context as a misdemeanor. It would take a state-level intervention to make sex in police custody an automatic felony rape.

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Filming Cops
Filming Cops 3206 posts

Filming Cops was started in 2010 as a conglomerative blogging service documenting police abuse. The aim isn’t to demonize the natural concept of security provision as such, but to highlight specific cases of State-monopolized police brutality that are otherwise ignored by traditional media outlets.

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