Two Brooklyn police officers were arraigned in New York State court Monday, accused of raping a teenage woman while she was handcuffed in a police van. A grand jury indicted the two narcotics detectives, Eddie Martins and Richard Hall, on 50 counts including rape, sexual abuse, kidnapping and official misconduct.
The officers surrendered at the police precinct Monday and were released on bail after pleading not guilty.
Prosecutors recounted in court Monday the chilling charges of Martins and Hall taking turns raping the 18-year-old woman. DNA evidence from a rape test performed on the victim following the attack matched the two detectives.
The two officers were part of a “buy and bust” drug operation near Coney Island, Brooklyn on September 15. Cruising in an unmarked van, they pulled up on a car with the young woman and two male friends in a parking lot of a public park after closing hours.
Shining a flashlight through the window, one of the plain-clothed officers noticed the woman adjust her bra. He demanded the she expose her breasts to prove she wasn’t hiding drugs. She complied. The officers proceeded to search the car and found a small amount of marijuana in a cup holder and a few anti-anxiety pills.
The detectives took only the young woman into custody, handcuffing her and driving her to a Chipotle parking lot in an adjacent neighborhood. Detective Martins used his cell phone to call her friends and instruct them not to follow the police van. They could pick her up in three hours from the police precinct, the detective said.
According to the prosecution Martins told the woman, “We’re freaks,” while seated with her in the back seat. He asked what she wanted to do to get out of the arrest. He tightened the handcuffs and forced the teen to perform oral sex. Martins then pulled down her pants and raped her as his partner watched in the rearview mirror. The two officers switched places, Hall forcing her to perform oral sex. The woman begged for them to stop.
The officers then drove away towards the 60th Precinct in Brooklyn, releasing the victim on a nearby street corner. Before she left, they forced her to take an anti-anxiety pill and warned her to keep her mouth shut. She did not.
After speaking to a friend, she went to Maimonedes Medical Center to document the rape.
“I’m completely brutalized by the rape. My life is in shatters,” the victim later explained via her attorney Michael David. “Now every time I see any police, I’m in a panic.”
The officers, who do not deny having sexual relations with the woman in custody, but claim it was consensual, face up to 25 years in prison if convicted.
The brutalization of the teen adds to a long line of horrific abuses by the NYPD, including the sodomization of Abner Louima with a broom stick in 1997 and scores of police murders since then. Sean Bell, Ramarley Graham and Eric Garner are just a few of the most prominent among those murdered by New York police.
Another, less publicized victim, Delrawn Small, was gunned down last year by off-duty NYPD officer Wayne Isaacs, who is currently on trial for murder and manslaughter. The killing of Small was captured on video, exposing the lie Isaacs concocted of being repeatedly punched prior to the shooting.
The systemic harassment by the NYPD and daily abuse extends throughout working class neighborhoods in New York, including the predominantly white neighborhood near Coney Island involved in the rape case, as well as black and Latino neighborhoods across the five boroughs.
In Brownsville, a largely African American neighborhood in Brooklyn, a grandmother said she was held under house arrest by police last week as they waited for the woman’s daughter to arrive home. Police stood guard inside and outside the apartment, without a warrant, for 16 hours. When they finally left they issued the woman a summons for marijuana allegedly found in her son’s bedroom.
In the Bronx, the 42nd police precinct alone has settled 16 separate lawsuits in the last four years for abuse and wrongful arrest. In one case, Juan Ramirez was hospitalized with bruised lungs, fractured ribs and internal bleeding over an incident involving a broken mirror on a police car. Officers beat and jolted Ramirez with a Taser, yet claimed they did not use force when arresting him.
Officers are rarely indicted for these abuses, and even more rarely convicted.