Probation for former police officers accused of rape
Two former Brooklyn cops accused of raping an 18-year-old in the back of their police vehicle pleaded guilty Thursday to charges of official misconduct and receiving bribes. Neither will serve prison time — a surprising conclusion to a case that caught headlines in 2017.
In a plea hearing in Brooklyn Supreme Court before Supreme Court Justice Danny Chun, the officers were offered a deal of five years probation for two counts of third-degree bribe receiving and nine counts of official misconduct. The former officers, Richard Hall and Eddie Martins, admitted to having sex with the 18-year-old — who goes by the pseudonym Anna Chambers — but argued that the sex was consensual.
“We’re absolutely outraged that cops on duty can rape someone and get away with it,” said Michael David, Chambers’ attorney in a civil case against the city. “They kidnapped her, questioned her, they handcuffed her, they had guns, put her in a van and they raped her. There is no other way to call it.”
Chambers accused both men of raping her in the back of their vehicle on Sept. 15, 2017, after they arrested her for having a small amount of marijuana and Klonopin pills. The officers handcuffed her, put her in the back of their vehicle and both had sex with her, according to prosecutors. Afterward, they dropped her off, gave the Klonopin back to her and did not report anything to their supervisors, the district attorney said.
Both officers resigned from the NYPD in November 2017, but the high-profile case unraveled just before trial when prosecutors began to question the truthfulness of Chambers’ testimony.
In a filing from January, just before a trial was set to begin, prosecutors said Chambers made a “series of false, misleading and inconsistent statements about the facts of this case,” and asked for the judge to assign a special prosecutor to the case. The request was denied, but the problems between the DA’s Office and the victim continued.
In March, the DA dropped the rape charges altogether and decided Chambers would not be called as a witness in the new case.
Despite dropping the most serious charge, Brooklyn DA Eric Gonzalez framed the no-jail-time plea as a measure of justice.
“These defendants engaged in a shocking abuse of power which they finally acknowledged,” Gonzalez said in a statement. “While I would have preferred to see them serve prison time, they are no longer members of our police department and with today’s plea are convicted felons.”
Hall’s lawyer, Peter Guadagnino, called the plea deal “fair” and the original indictment accusing the cops of rape “nonsense.” He said his client accepted a bribe of sex from Chambers. “I’m not saying that what my client did was right, but he accepted a bribe … He didn’t rape anyone. He didn’t commit any sexual crimes against anyone. He has daughters of his own. I mean he’s married, that’s not his thing. He would never do that. ”
Since the incident, New York State changed its laws so that people in police custody cannot legally give consent.
Chambers’ attorney, Michael David, said he intends to press on in civil court and is also renewing his request for an investigation by the U.S. Attorney.
“I’m going to get them on the civil case that will send a message to law enforcement that you can’t get away with sexual misconduct,” he said.
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