A gold shield is not divine right to rape

Call me cynical, and I hope I’m wrong. My prediction: two NYPD detectives will lose their jobs but see no jail time for the rape of a teenager they arrested, a crime to which the detectives confessed.

Now the attorneys for the detectives in question are attempting to «slut-shame» the teenager and paint her as a money-grubbing opportunist. Shame on them, but ignore it. It’s all beside the point. It doesn’t matter how terrible the young woman might be. She shouldn’t have to justify any of her behavior. None of it matters.

What does matter is that the detectives admitted to having sex with a woman they arrested and were holding in custody. This ought to be the end of it. The detectives claim the encounter was consensual, but there can be no such thing as consent to sex in a locked police van. Even apparently enthusiastic participation has no meaning locked in a van with two men with guns and badges.

She was taken into custody for carrying medication for which she had a prescription, but not the bottle. It’s not clear whether New York State actually requires prescription medication to be kept in the bottle at all times, but having a small pill keeper to carry instead of an entire bottle is common practice amongst anyone who has a prescription. Subsequently she was let go without being charged or even brought in to the precinct.

It seems most likely that she was released in exchange for the sex. This doesn’t mitigate the detectives’ crime. There are only two possibilities: the detectives demanded sex, either with force or an offer to let her go free, or she offered them sexual favors as a bribe. Even if the latter were the case it is critical to remember that she was in custody and not capable of consent. It could be argued (if that is the case) that she ought to be charged with offering the bribe but even assuming that she was incapable of offering consent for sex. It is rape.

She was taken into custody against her will, not asked to come to the station for questioning. The detectives’ failure to bring her to the precinct under these circumstances makes this false imprisonment at best, kidnapping at worst. This is first degree rape and criminal use of a firearm based on the detectives’ own accounts. Anyone without a badge would have been charged by now, and anyone else would be facing twenty-five years to life. The detectives are still walking free and collecting paychecks a month after their crime. They have been demoted for what little that’s worth.

It’s understandable that an officer of the law accused of a crime as part of her or his duty ought to be subject to an Internal Affairs investigation rather than a normal criminal investigation. This is not an internal matter. The detectives may have been on duty but the crime has no possible connection to the performance of their duty. They should have no protection due to their employment in law enforcement. They should have no consideration shown for their badges.

A badge is a symbol of public trust. It should never be a «stay out of jail free card». If it were up to me, we’d add Criminal Impersonation of a police officer to the list of charges. But that’s probably asking too much. The way justice is dragging its feet in New York City, it that like treating these confessed criminals as criminals is asking too much.

We’re asked not to lump all police together with these kinds of criminals, to treat them as the exceptions and not the rule. But how can we, unless the police are held to a standard fitting their position? Prosecuting and sentencing them for the crimes to which they have admitted is the only way to show these Big Apple detectives are bad apples, and not representative of the whole smoking barrel.



Eddie Martins, 37, and Richard Hall, 33, of the Brooklyn South Narcotics unit, were arraigned Monday on a total of 50 charges, including first-degree rape, first-degree criminal sexual act and second-degree kidnapping.