On Thursday two NYPD officers, Kenneth Moreno and Franklin Mata, were found not guilty of raping a 27-year-old East Village woman. The jury’s decision, which convicts the two men of “official misconduct,” but acquits them of rape, falsifying business records, and burglary charges (for entering and re-entering her apartment repeatedly through the night), has been met with a wide array of emotions including disgust, concern, sadness, anger, and, in some cases, satisfaction — but mostly, from where we sit, anger. (For example, this tweet just popped up on our screen.) A rally to protest the decision has been organized by Permanent Wave, Lori Adelman, and Niina Pollari. The protest is today, from 5 to 7 p.m., at 100 Centre Street. Updated with new details after the jump.
On the event’s Facebook page, they write:
On Thursday May 26, New York police officers Kenneth Moreno and Franklin Mata were found not guilty of charges that Moreno raped a woman in her apartment while Mata kept guard, despite the fact that the amount of evidence against the officers in this case was overwhelming. Instead, the jury convicted both officers of official misconduct for entering the woman’s apartment, but found them not guilty of all other charges, including burglary and falsifying business records. This despite the fact that one of the officers had been recorded on tape admitting to using a condom when having sex with the woman who made the accusation. The cornerstone of the defense required that the woman was too drunk to have a credible account of the incident, but sober enough to consent to sex.
Join us in protest. Because raping a drunk women while on patrol is more than “official misconduct”. Because calling 911 should not be an invitation to be raped. Because NO behavior, including being drunk, is an invitation to be raped. Because rapists do not deserve the protection of our tax-funded police department and city officials. Because we recognize this incident as part of the NYPD’s long, horrific history of violence — sexual and otherwise — often and disproportionately against people of color. Because the people of NYC will not accept victim-blaming, cronyism, and a culture of silence that allows rapists to roam free, without consequence.
Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said today that Moreno and Mata will be stripped of their badges. As for the accused, they had this to say, via CBS Local:
“This has been a long two and a half years,” said Mata. “I’ve been innocent from day one. I’m glad everybody sees that now.”
“It is a win,” Moreno said. “It’s a lesson and a win.”
The rally is scheduled for Friday at 5 p.m. at 100 Centre Street. More than 200 are currently attending.
Update: The group has posted some additional information on Facebook as to the purpose of the rally and their demands. They also have a petition on Change.org, here.
1. Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly must institute sustained and comprehensive trainings for every incoming class of officers on rape, sexual assault, sexual harassment, and proper police conduct. A single training session, or a simplistic lecture not to rape, is NOT acceptable.
2. The NYPD must institute a zero-tolerance policy for sexual assault, sexual harassment and sexualized behavior while on the job. While this case illustrates an extreme example of police officers using their power to abuse women, too many of us have witnessed officers behaving in sexually inappropriate ways while on the job. There is no excuse for that behavior, and the police force must take it seriously. We want an easily-accessible reporting mechanism for sexual assault and harassment at the hands of police officers, and a demonstrated commitment to punishing officers who exploit their position to harass and assault the people they are supposed to protect.
3. The NYPD must be accountable to the New Yorkers they serve in a transparent process for implementing the above two demands. They must keep community leaders, local politicians and New York City residents informed about the initiatives they institute, and how they are working to make sure that an incident similar to the one involving former officers Mata and Moreno does not happen again.
1,421 people are currently listed as attending the event. We will be there and will report back.
Originally posted Thu., May 26 2011 at 3:19 PM.