The NY Times recently covered a rape charge, resulting in acquittal, against two NYC police officers. The writer, John Leland, gets the angle correct in writing about the non-surprise of 2 police officers getting acquitted. However, I’d add that we’re not ever surprised when violence against women results in impunity – it’s the number one reason why the violence continues worldwide.
In interviews around the city on Thursday and Friday, reactions to the verdict revealed the simple terror elicited by the case — that the very people sworn to protect you can take advantage of you. Amid the anger, many expressed little surprise that in a trial without physical evidence, the jury believed the officers over the woman accusing them, who testified that she was too drunk to remember much of what happened.
“It’s disgusting,” said Annie White, a retired home health care aide, who said she had to shut off her television after watching the verdict.
“New York City cops can get away with anything,” Ms. White said, sitting in front of her home on 117th Street in Harlem. “This is the only place I know where there are certain rules for police officers and certain rules for civilians. Acquitting those two today is totally out of line. They should put those cops in jail where they belong.
“Right is right, wrong is wrong. To take advantage of a drunk woman? If you’re a woman in this city you don’t have a chance; you can’t even call the police. If they were civilians, they would be in jail.”
The trial of the two officers, Kenneth Moreno and Franklin Mata, featured spirited courtroom confrontations and a steady drip of intimate revelations, including the woman’s familiarity with various sexual positions and the song that Mr. Moreno testified that he sang to her when he cuddled her in her bed (Bon Jovi’s “Livin’ on a Prayer”).
The officers were found guilty of official misconduct and fired from the force — an inadequate punishment, several people said, for officers who took advantage of a woman at her most vulnerable.