On September 15, 2017, two off-duty Brooklyn South narcotics officers pulled over a car with three teens inside. The officers found Prozac and put one of the teens in handcuffs – and later that night, the young woman who was in that car went to a local hospital and submitted herself for a rape kit, according to the New York Times. The 18-year-old female passenger, unnamed to protect her identity, alleges that the two officers handcuffed her, drove her to a nearby Chipotle parking lot, and sexually assaulted her. According to the New York Daily News, she later identified the officer as Detective Edward Martins and Detective Richard Hall (both of whom were promoted to Detective within the last year). The two detectives, and their direct supervisor Sargent John Espey, have been put on “modified duty,” which means no badges or firearm while you sit behind a desk. The victim’s lawyer, Michael David, has been vocally defending his clients right to privacy and full protection under the law. Internal Affairs and the Detectives Endowment Association are both being closed lipped about this allegation, claiming their silence is because the investigation is still active. The investigation has to conclude before the detectives involved will be interviewed.
Meanwhile, the young victim has been found on social media, so of course human decency and empathy has flown out the window. The New York Post, breaking the story and continually trying to update it, only uses bikini clad selfies to represent the victim, fueling the slut-shaming fire. The officers involved have admitted to the sexual acts, although they say it was consensual — which begs the question, why was she handcuffed, threatened with a night in a jail cell, and in an unmarked car with non-uniformed officers, in the back of a goddamn Chipotle if it was consensual? This “other side of the story,” combined with the fact drugs were found in the car, and the victim has bikini pictures online, are all being used to dismiss the story.
There is obviously a lot about this story that hasn’t come to light yet, and will undoubtedly come up in court documents and testimony in the upcoming weeks. But before you follow this story at all, remember these statistics via RAINN: 54% of sexual assault victims are between 18 and 34 years old. Women between the ages of 16 and 19 are 4 times more likely than the general population to be victims of rape. There is a sexual assault in this country every 98 seconds. Violence against women comes in many forms, and that is exactly what rape is — violence.
All we can do now is work hard so this woman gets her day in court, and educate ourselves and others about violence against women, legal rights to safety, and being a good person (hint: it starts with empathy and knowledge.)
Header Photo via Flickr/Handcuff Warehouse
Second Photo via RAINN
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