Two New York City police detectives accused of raping a handcuffed 18- year old woman inside their van earlier in the month were arraigned on October 30. Charges against Eddie Martins, 37 and Richard Hall, 33, include first-degree rape, first degree criminal sexual act and second-degree kidnapping.
The two men were part of the Brooklyn South Narcotics Unit. Both officers pleaded not guilty. If convicted, both could spend the next quarter century in prison. Hall has been a member of the police force since 2010 and Martins since 2006.
Assistant Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez has asked anyone who may have had similar encounters with Hall and Martins to come forward.
The Night of September 15
The two detectives, working in plainclothes, allegedly left their “buy and bust” drug post on Coney Island the night of September 15 and drove to Brooklyn’s Calvert Vaux Park. It was there that they stopped a car carrying the young woman and two male passengers.
The woman admitted she had some marijuana and some anti-anxiety pills in the vehicle. The officers allegedly forced the young woman to remove her bra, exposing her breasts, to prove she wasn’t “hiding” drugs on her body.
At that point, they arrested and handcuffed the young woman on drug charges, telling her companions to go away and pick their friend up later. They specifically told the young men not to follow their van.
According to the Brooklyn District Attorney’s office, the officers asked the woman what she would do to get out of the arrest. Hall then allegedly raped her in the back seat of the van while Martins drove. They stopped the van about four miles away in the parking lot of a Chipotle restaurant, where the two men switched places.
Hall allegedly forced the woman to perform oral sex on him. The officers then dropped the woman off on Coney Island, not far from their station house, and told her to keep quiet. They also made her take an anti-anxiety pill.
The Evidence of Horrific Police Misconduct
The victim went straight to Maimonides Medical Center and had a sexual assault examination. Both officers’ DNA was found on her, confirmed by the city medical examiner’s office. A video surveillance camera recorded her leaving the officers’ van at 8:42 that night of September 15.
Quitting the NYPD
Halls and Martin quit the New York Police Department (NYPD) on November 6, three days before they were scheduled to face an internal trial, according to the New York Times. Usually, such trials take place after criminal proceedings are finished, since an officer’s answer to questions can affect their criminal case.
The charges in this case did not relate specifically to the alleged rape, but from Hall and Martins refusal to answer questions about the situation from the NYPD’s Internal Affairs Bureau.
The department decided to get ahead of the Brooklyn D.A. in this instance. A statement released by the NYPD did not mention why the officers resigned. New York City Police Commissioner James P. O’Neill said that if the charges against the officers had been upheld at the internal trial, he would have immediately fired them.
Not a Slam Dunk Sexual Assault Case
While horrific, this case is not a slam dunk. The day following the incident, the victim was interviewed by investigators from the Internal Affair Bureau. She could not identify Martins from a photo array, although she could identify Hall. Her companions also could not identify Martins, and only one identified Hall.
The officers are claiming the sex was consensual.
Under New York City law, sex between a police officer and detainee is not necessarily considered rape. It’s basically an omission - there are laws against sex between a parole officer and parolees, and prison guards and inmates, but not police officers and detainees not yet put in cells.
City Council Member Mark Treyger is drafting a bill that would correct this oversight. “To think that these are grown men in a position of power, who are blaming this on an 18-year-old girl, speaks in my opinion to desperation,” said Gonzalez.
Social Media Posts Speak out against Extraordinary Police Misconduct
The alleged rape victim is just 18, and she’s doing what is second nature to women her age – posting on social media. The teen uses the pseudonym Anna Chambers on social media, and she’s getting lots of support online.
She also corrects any misinformation, such as her post about what she was wearing that night: “I was wearing adidas pants & a tank top it was the middle of September, get your facts straight man.”
Perhaps Anna Chambers represents a new generation of young women who, having been the victim of a terrible crime, is not going to sit back while others judge her.
She’s fighting back, and whatever the outcome of the case, she has become a symbol of someone speaking out against extraordinary police misconduct.
If you are a victim of a sexual assault by a law enforcement officer, whether in New York, California or anywhere else, we can help find out what happened and make sure you receive the maximum compensation to which you’re entitled. Call 866.836.4684 for a confidential discussion of your rights or Connect Online