Teenager Accused Two On-Duty Cops Of Rape – She Had No Idea The Law Might Protect Them

Anna was sitting in the parked car with two friends when a charcoal gray van pulled up and flashlight beams momentarily blinded her. The 18-year-old had grown up in south Brooklyn and spent many Friday nights like this driving around the city with friends, looking for places to hang out away from home. On this night, though, September 15, 2017, sometime between 7:30 p.m. and 8 p.m., she crossed paths with the cops.

There were two of them, both plainclothes detectives over 6 feet tall and powerfully built, flashing their badges and asking questions. There was weed in the front cupholder, and soon the detectives ordered the three occupants out of the car. As Anna later recalled, the detectives handcuffed her and told her friends, both young men, they were free to go. Then, she said they led her — a slender woman just over 5 feet tall — into the back of the unmarked police van with tinted windows.

Inside, Anna said the detectives took turns raping her in the backseat as the van cruised the dark streets and as she sat handcuffed, crying and repeatedly telling them “No.” Between assaults, she said, the van pulled over so the cops could switch drivers. Less than an hour later, a few minutes’ drive from where it all began, the detectives dropped Anna off on the side of the road, a quarter-mile from a police station, surveillance footage shows. She stood on the sidewalk, her arms wrapped around her chest, looking up and down the dimly lit street and pacing slowly before borrowing a cell phone from a passerby to call a friend.

The cops made no arrest, issued no citation, filed no paperwork about the stop. Hours later, Anna and her mother went to a hospital, where Anna told nurses two detectives had sexually assaulted her, according to hospital records. Semen collected in Anna’s rape kit matched the DNA of detectives Eddie Martins, 37, and Richard Hall, 33, of the Brooklyn South narcotics unit. Both have since resigned from the force and been charged with rape.

Anna assumed it was a simple case: Two cops had sex with a woman in their custody in the middle of their shift.

When a Facebook friend questioned whether there was enough evidence to dispute the officers’ claim that the sex was consensual, Anna wrote back, “Listen man it doesn’t fucking matter they’re on duty police officers its a fucking violation these are the people we call for help not to get fucked.”

But Anna didn’t know that in New York, there is no law specifically stating that it is illegal for police officers or sheriff’s deputies in the field to have sex with someone in their custody. It is one of 35 states where armed law enforcement officers can evade sexual assault charges by claiming that such an encounter — from groping to intercourse — was consensual.

“Our laws regarding sexual consent must be brought into line with basic common sense, empathy, and human decency.”
In recent years, some states have closed this loophole, applying to cops the same rules already in place nationwide for probation officers and prison and jail guards. Oregon did so in 2005, Alaska in 2013, and Arizona in 2015. Most have not, partly because few people realize the loophole exists, and partly because it has been politically unpopular to push laws that target cops and anger their powerful unions.

Of at least 158 law enforcement officers charged since 2006 with sexual assault, sexual battery, or unlawful sexual contact with somebody under their control, at least 26 have been acquitted or had charges dropped based on the consent defense, according to my review of a Buffalo News database of more than 700 law enforcement officers accused of sexual misconduct.

In the 35 states that do not explicitly outlaw sex between on-duty cops and detainees, including New York, an officer can claim consent and face only a misdemeanor “official misconduct” charge, which carries a maximum one-year sentence.

“Cultural shifts happen, but what we need to see is a policy shift,” said Tara Burns, an advocate in Alaska who has worked to expand police sexual assault laws. “There’s a long entrenched history of institutionalized rape culture that has to change.”

Anna’s case has brought new attention to this legal loophole. On October 26, 2017, New York City Council member Mark Treyger announced that the teen’s story had inspired him to propose a bill to make it illegal for police officers to have sex with anyone in their custody. “Our laws regarding sexual consent must be brought into line with basic common sense, empathy, and human decency,” he wrote in a post on Medium, calling on state lawmakers to pass similar legislation. New York City’s two biggest police unions both declined to state whether or not they support the proposal.

Anna hadn’t considered that her story had the potential to spur changes to the law. Her aim when she went public about her case was simply “to encourage other victims to come forward,” she told me after a recent court appearance. “Police aren’t supposed to be doing this.” Seeing her story “blowing up,” as she put it, has left her optimistic that more officers will be held accountable for sexual abuse. She believes that people are listening to her and will listen to others who have similar allegations. “All it took was one voice.”

For full story visit: https://www.buzzfeed.com/albertsamaha/this-teenager-accused-two-on-duty-cops-of-rape-she-had-no?utm_term=.amv8x5D1a#.acx2KOaWj

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Filming Cops
Filming Cops 3779 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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