The NYPD has finally agreed to ban the confiscation condoms as evidence from people they suspect of being sex workers. With similar measures having been fought for and won in San Francisco and Washington, D.C., this seems like a win for sexual health, right?
Well, sort of. The headlines I keep seeing aren’t actually accurate: “NYPD to stop seizing sex work suspects’ condoms,” “NYPD To Stop Seizing Condoms From Suspects As Evidence Of Prostitution,” etc. This sort of shoddy reporting might mean that the public thinks that condoms as evidence is an issue over and done with, when in fact there is more to do. The policy announced by NYPD Commissioner Bratton bars confiscation of condoms as arrest evidence in prostitution, prostitution in a school zone, and loitering for the purposes of prostitution cases, which is a great start. But it’s not as overarching as the mainstream media seems to think it is. Keep reading »
The New York City Police Department is infamous for the controversial “stop and frisk” program, critiqued for how it is used for racial profiling. This story, however, is more like stop and grope.
According to NYMag.com, a Brooklyn woman, Latonya Ratcliff, 39, is suing the city after Officer Joseph Jette entered an apartment, where Ratcliff works as a live-in caregiver, to search for guns and ended up sexually assaulting her. During a not-so-routine patdown, Latonya claims officer Jette “cupped her breast and butt,” according to the Post. Then, when questioning Ratcliff alone in the apartment’s bedroom, Officer Jette allegedly picked up a porn DVD. The Post reports that Ratcliff said, “He asked me if I liked these positions and if I wanted to do them with him and I told him no.” Keep reading »
New York City Police Department officer Gilberto Valle was arrested today for a failed plot to kidnap, rape, torture, and cook women. COOK them. This is so disturbing and disgusting that I almost don’t know what to say. Warning: Some of the details after the jump are graphic. Keep reading »
Nearly one year ago, those of us who put our faith and trust in the police had our world rocked: an New York City Police Department officer named Michael Pena was charged with grabbing a 25-year-old woman off the street, threatening to shoot her, and raping her in a yard. A neighbor saw Pena raping the woman and called 911.
But this March, a jury failed to convict Pena of rape. It convicted him of seven charges, including sexual assault, but wouldn’t convict him of rape because he insisted he did not “penetrate” her. The eyewitness neighbor who called 911 said it very clearly was a rape and was shocked the jury didn’t believe the 25-year-old woman.
Yesterday, the ex-cop admitted he had lied. In a retrial yesterday, Pena admitted he raped the young Bronx teacher and plead guilty to two counts of rape and two counts of sexual assault. Keep reading »
A gift from me to you, A Handy-Dandy Guide On Things Not To Do If You’re A Cop — Or Anyone — Talking To Women About Sexual Assault When A Serial Rapist Is Afoot:
- Suggest that wearing a skirt, shorts, or dress is just asking for it.
- That’s it.
Unfortunately, the NYPD did not get that memo. Women in areas of Brooklyn — which has been ground zero for a serial rapist/groper throughout the spring, summer and fall — report that NYPD officers have stopped them on the street and offered unsolicited victim-blaming sartorial advice. One 25-year-old who identified herself as Lauren to the Wall Street Journalsaid she was stopped by a cop while wearing shorts. “He pointed at my outfit and said, ‘Don’t you think your shorts are a little short?’” Lauren told the WSJ. “He pointed at [other women's] dresses and said they were showing a lot of skin. He said that such clothing could make the suspect think he had ‘easy access.’”
Oh, for f**k’s sake.
Keep reading »
UPDATE, 2:40p.m.: Anti-street harassment group Hollaback! has announced that T-Mobile responded to the Change.org petition and provided the requested phone numbers to the NYPD. Thank you, T-Mobile, for doing the right thing. [Hollaback!]
T-Mobile has the ability to provide police with the phone number for a rapist who sexually assaulted a 22-year-old woman inside a car in Brooklyn. But despite a police subpoena, T-Mobile has refused to hand over the phone number — which could possibly get this rapist off the streets — by claiming it would violate the “privacy” of their customers.
In the meantime, the rapist(s) (possibly looking like this or like this or like this) is still at large. An investigator for the NYPD told the Brooklyn Paper that two or three individuals may be involved. Keep reading »
For the past year, the country has been following the sordid tale of the two NYPD “rape cops” who were accused of sexually assaulting a drunk woman whom they were called to remove from a taxi cab and take into her apartment. After a night of partying, the 27-year-old Gap employee was put into a cab by friends. She vomited on herself and was disoriented, so a cab driver called police to come to her aid. The cops who arrived on the scene helped her inside her place, but returned to her apartment several times over the course of the night to “check up on her.” Ex-officer Kenneth Moreno claimed he cuddled the blackout-drunk woman in her bed while she wore only a bra, although the woman herself claims he raped her and can recall her panties being removed. Moreno’s partner, Franklin Mata, allegedly hung out elsewhere in the woman’s apartment while Moreno was alone with her in the bedroom. The pair were also accused of faking 911 calls that would allow them to stay in the area near the woman’s apartment.
Shocking those of us who followed the case, Moreno was found not guilty of sexual assault. Jurors did not trust the victim’s memory because she had been blackout drunk; they also said they could not convict him due to a lack of DNA evidence. (Moreno had admitted on tape, when he was approached by the victim at his police station, that he had used a condom.) The surely-despondent victim released a sad statement after the verdict to say she was “devastated and disappointed by the jury’s decision.”
So it is in this environment that one of the jurors in the case, Patrick Kirkland, decided to cash in, publishing an article on the blog Gothamist called “Confessions of a ‘Rape Cop’ Juror,” for which he charged $1.99 on Kindle and $2.99 on PDF. Keep reading »