Two NYPD officers accused of raping a drunk East Village woman had their case complicated on Monday when the jury heard a 911 call that prosecutors say the police faked. After helping the intoxicated woman from a cab into her apartment, the two officers, Kenneth Moreno and Franklin Mata, returned twice over the next two hours. The second time, when prosecutors say Moreno raped the woman while Mata sat on the couch, was in response to a call from a tourist complaining about a homeless man, but the caller, “John Edwards,” may have given himself away as one of the officers with police lingo.
Speaking with the 911 dispatcher, the caller claimed that there was a homeless man who “smells really bad” in the building entrance and described him as “male white, I think,” but corrected himself right away and clarified, “white guy.” Via the New York Times:
The sex-race pairing is used by police officers, countless times a day, in radio calls and written reports: “male white,” “female black,” “male Hispanic,” and so forth. An assistant district attorney, Randolph Clarke Jr., seemed to be preparing to argue that Mr. Edwards’s “male white” description suggests he was really a police officer. On Monday, he paused in questioning a dispatcher and asked him about the descriptors.
Yes, the dispatcher, Eddie Rodriguez, answered, that is how the police speak, sex first, then race.
The City Room blog also notes that John Edwards “shares the name with a former United States senator who made headlines that same year by admitting to an extramarital affair with an aide.” Asked for contact information, the probably fake Edwards said, “I’m actually from Canada, so I don’t have one,” not accounting for the phone he was calling from.
Audio of the call can be heard here.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on April 12, 2011