A gold shield is not droit du seigneur

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.

One Reply to “A gold shield is not droit du seigneur”

  1. You are Cyn­i­cal 🙂
    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.

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