On September 15, 2017, a 19-year-old resident of Brooklyn who uses the moniker Anna Chambers was driving with two male friends through Brooklyn’s Calvert Vaux Park where she was pulled over by an unmarked police van. Two NYPD Brooklyn South Narcotics detectives, Eddie Martins and Richard Hall flashed their badges, and claimed she was pulled over because the park was closed and they demanded to search the car for drugs. Upon finding cannabis in the cup-holder of the car, Anna was arrested while the two male friends were told they could leave. Anna was then brought to the police van with dark tinted windows where the two detectives took turns raping her, switching so that the other could drive. Anna cried “no” throughout the hour long ordeal and afterwards was dropped off on a street corner about a half mile from the police station where after collecting herself, she asked a stranger for use of his phone to call a friend. The detectives issued no citation and filed no paperwork. Anna’s mother immediately took her to a local hospital where seamen was found in her vagina and mouth1 with DNA that matched both Hall and Martins. Both detectives have resigned but they attest it was “consensual.”
Nancy Hoppock, the district attorney for the criminal case against the detectives is now claiming that Anna perjured herself in court. Chambers stated on twitter “Your DA is trying to flip things on me and accuse me of perjuring (due) to inconsistencies I made while traumatized. My state representative DAs are corrupted and are trying to defend the thin blue line.” Anna also wrote “I only said what my DA had told me to say”. On January 10th of this year, Chambers was appointed a defense attorney to defend her against perjury allegations at the request of prosecutors. As if it wasn’t enough to rape the young woman, the state now wants to prosecute her for alleged perjury. During a deposition in the civil lawsuit when Hall and Martins were asked if they raped Chambers, they pleaded the Fifth amendment right against self-incrimination, declining to answer.2 Chambers rightly noted on twitter“If you didn’t rape someone you say no. You don’t plead the 5th“.
James Ford reported in April that “there is one key, related issue involving the prosecutors at the Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office. One of them, an assistant district attorney who is not involved in the detectives’ case, was not only romantically involved with Detective Hall at the time of his arrest, but phone records show that she and the detective had been in contact both before and after he was charged with sexually abusing Chambers. The situation was confirmed in Thursday’s court hearing.“3 A letter to Justice Danny Chun from the chief assistant district attorney dated January 17th requested a special prosecutor for this reason among others. The letter, however, also states that Anna’s “false, misleading, and inconsistent statements” “prohibit us from calling her to testify under oath.” Only the state could make a victim raped by cops look like the criminal.
Shockingly, Hall and Martins are not the first cops to make such a claim of “consent” after raping someone in their custody. In many states this defense succeeds because they lack laws clearly defining all sex in custody as rape. But it is impossible to consent to sex when you are confined against your will. Albert Samaha of Buzzfeed reported in March of last year that “Of at least 158 law enforcement officers nationwide charged since 2006 with sexual assault, sexual battery, or unlawful sexual contact with somebody under their control, at least 26 have been acquitted or had charges dropped after claiming the encounters were consensual, according to a BuzzFeed News review of a Buffalo News database.“4 In the same Buzzfeed report, Samaha notes 35 states lack language in their custodial misconduct laws that defines sex in custody as rape. Anna’s Attorney, Michael David, noted it is actually 32 states5 but regardless, the fact that cops have raped people without any consequences by claiming it was consensual is nothing short of appalling. Only in Massachusetts and Montana is sex in custody essentially defined as rape. MASS. GEN. LAWS ANN. ch. 268 § 21A explicitly states “In a prosecution commenced under this section, an inmate shall be deemed incapable of consent to sexual relations with such person.“ MONT. CODE ANN. §§ 45-5-501 similarly states “the victim is incapable of consent because the victim is incarcerated in an adult or juvenile correctional, detention, or treatment facility and the perpetrator is an employee, contractor, or volunteer of the facility and has supervisory or disciplinary authority over the victim, unless the act is part of a lawful search.” Consent is also not a defense to prosecution of sex in custody in California, DC, Arkansas, Florida, Illinois, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Mississippi, Nebraska, New Hampshire, NY (does not mention cops, only prison guards), North Carolina, Utah, and Washington but in other states it can and is used as a defense.6
In most states where sex in custody is illegal, punishments are very lax. For example, In California under penal code § 289.6, people in custody are considered able to consent. (Confusingly, however, the law also states consent is not a defense to prosecution). The law states ”An employee or officer of a public entity detention facility, or an employee, officer, or agent of a private person or entity that provides a detention facility or staff for a detention facility …who engages in sexual activity with a consenting adult who is confined to a detention facility is guilty of a a public offense.” This “public offense” is only considered a “misdemeanor” punishable by “imprisonment in the county jail for a term not to exceed 6 months, and/or a fine not to exceed $1,000”7 In Montana under Mont. Co. Ann. § 45-5-502 (West 2003), the punishment for guards who have sex with inmates (i.e. rape them) is “not to exceed $500” or imprisonment “in the county jail for a term not to exceed 6 months, or both.” In Kansas under K.S.A. § 21-3520, “unlawful sexual relations” with someone in custody by a cop or prison guard is considered a level 10 felony, which carries a maximum punishment of 12 months. In Utah under UT ST § 76-5-412, prison isn’t even mentioned in the punishment for sex with those in custody, just fines. When anyone else not employed by the state commits rape, it is considered a felony punishable by up to life in prison but for public officials, the punishment is essentially a slap on the wrist. In Arkansas under code § 5-14-109, sex in custody is only considered a class A misdemeanor. Rape of those in custody by a cop or prison guard in Tennessee under §§ 41-21-241 is also only considered a misdemeanor that carries punishment “not greater than 11 months 29 days imprisonment or a fine not to exceed $2,500 or both”, as well as in Alaska under §§ 11.41.427 and is punishable by no more than one year in prison. In Kentucky under K.R.S.A. §§ 510.120, 520.010, 532.090, rape of prisoners by guards is also only a misdemeanor punishable by no more than 12 months in prison.
In Tennessee, Colorado, and Wyoming, prosecutors must prove that the officer in question blatantly abused his or her authority to move ahead with a rape charge. Under WASH. REV. CODE. ANN. §§ 9A.44.170 violating an inmate or someone in custody is only considered a gross misdemeanor and “It is an affirmative defense to prosecution under RCW 9A.44.160 or 9A.44.170, to be proven by the defendant by a preponderance of the evidence, that the act of sexual intercourse or sexual contact resulted from forcible compulsion by the other person.” The state always prefers to keep these assaults under wraps to avoid undermining public trust in government. A report by Stop Prisoner Rape, now known as Just Detention International, published in 2004 notes to this end that:“the 1996 Prison Litigation Reform Act (PLRA) serves as a formidable obstacle to prisoner rape survivors seeking justice. Among other things, the PLRA bars litigation unless internal remedies have been exhausted. Such processes are often bureaucratic and ineffective and sometimes force those who have been abused by prison staff to first seek a resolution with the very person who committed the rape.”8
Alaska is currently debating HB 1129 and SB7310 that would criminalize police sexual contact with those in custody as well as those being investigated for crimes and those on parole or probation. These prohibitions would also apply to prison guards and probation officers. The fact that there is any debate whatsoever about bills like is objectively disgusting. Under Sec. 11.41.425. it is already considered sexual assault if a cop, probation officer, or employee of a state correctional facility has sex with a person in their custody (or a person on probation or parole in the case of probation officers), but it is only considered third or fourth degree sexual assault, which carries far lighter penalties than sexual assault in the first degree. It also doesn’t include people under investigation as SB73 and HB112 do.
Maryland just passed HB1292 that prohibits cops from having sex with people in their custody but the punishment is only a maximum of “3 years or a fine of up to $3,000 or both” and it is considered a misdemeanor.11 New York just passed a similar law (Senate Bill S7708) because of the rape of Anna Chambers. The Bill passed in the Senate on March 29th of 2018 but still has to be signed by the governor. The bill amends section 130.05 of the NY penal law, which already prohibits employees of hospitals, mental health facilitates, and prisons from having sex with those in their care or custody but says nothing about police.
Outside of sex in custody, some statists argue one reason sex on duty isn’t criminalized explicitly or defined as rape in most state laws is that in undercover operations intended to catch sex workers, police “need” to be believable customers, which means they can’t refuse sexual contact. So they can legally and literally screw the sex worker before screwing her metaphorically, locking her up, depriving her of her liberty and assets. But this attempted justification doesn’t explain why cops should be able to have sex with those already in custody. And what of the gratification the cop receives from this? Is it supposed to be some acceptable side “perk of the job” like the countless others pigs enjoy? Cops are breaking the law the same as any client when they have sex with sex workers. But the “magic” badge and uniform grant them the privilege of breaking this law without any consequences while only the sex worker who obviously doesn’t get paid for this is thrown in prison. CBS San Francisco reported in July of 2017 that “According to research conducted by University of California at San Francisco and St. James Infirmary, of 247 female sex workers interviewed in San Francisco, 21 percent reported having police officers as paying customers while 14 percent reported being threatened with arrest unless they have sex with a police officer. Five percent reported being arrested for not having sex with a police officer while eight percent reported being arrested after having sex with a police officer.”12
Laws against prostitution only increase the dangers of the trade. Where sex work is legal, sex workers and their clients are able to work in clean, safe environments with regular medical check ups. Where prostitution is illegal, pimps abuse sex workers under their employ, condoms are often not used, increasing transmission of communicable diseases, women are often assaulted or raped, (sometimes by cops) and they face incarceration and seizure of all of their assets by police. Bodily autonomy is an absolute right. Prostitution harms no one. It is a victimless “crime” and entrapping prostituting by posing as Johns is helping no one but cops to get their rocks off.
Sex in custody and on duty is by no means a small problem. A 2012 DOJ report estimates that in 2008 alone there were 17,600 cases of “willing” sex with staff in adult prisons, 15,500 cases of “willing” sex with staff in adult jails, 9700 cases of staff sexual misconduct in adult prisons, 16,300 cases of staff sexual misconduct in adult jails, and 2800 cases of “willing sex” with staff at juvenile facilities. According to a study conducted by Bowling Green State University, between 2006 and 2013, 405 rape convictions were made against police, along with 636 charges of forcible fondling, 219 convictions of forcible sodomy, and 186 convictions of statutory rape of a child.13 These numbers do not include rape charges against federal police, (H.R. 6568, The Closing Law Enforcement Consent Loophole Act seeks to stop rape by federal police) nor do they include the countless rape crimes police have committed that have gone unreported and unpunished. Those numbers are impossible to come by because victims are often reluctant to report the crime out of fear of retribution, cops often don’t make these accusations public, and no organization keeps a tally of police accused of rape. No organization or government entity even collects comprehensive information on police crime more broadly. Some laws also protect the identity of police who commit crimes and some victims are coerced into signing non-disclosure agreements. CNN reported in October of last year about police rape that“Researchers find that a predominance of the victims fall into at least one of several categories: They have criminal records, are homeless, are sex workers or have issues with drug or alcohol abuse.”14 In other words, they target the most vulnerable minorities of society. Most who are raped by cops receive no justice or even recognition of their trauma in large part because most people don’t want to believe that some of the supposed “protectors” of society have committed the most heinous crime of all.
From records obtained by 41 states, (nine states refused to provide information or said they didn’t decertify cops for sexual misconduct) the AP reported that from 2009-2014, 990 cops lost their badge for sex crimes.15 To mention one even more deplorable example, officer Stephen Young of Boise Idaho confessed to raping over a dozen infants over the course of his 30 years as a cop. His sentence was a mere 20 years in prison with possibility of parole while innocent civilians have received life sentences for cannabis.16 As another example, on New Year’s Day of 2011, NYPD officer Darrin Nemelc found and raped a 14-year-old girl sitting alone on a park bench in Washington Heights.17 Despite 75 counts of stalking and harassment, Stephen Rozniakowski of the Colwyn Borough police department was not fired and in 2015 he shot and killed a woman and wounded her daughter.18 In 2014 in Ferguson Missouri, corrections officer Jaris Hayden raped a pregnant woman who preferred to remain anonymous.19 In November 2013 Sorrento, Louisiana police chief, Earl Theriot, pleaded guilty to raping an unconscious woman after tying her to a chair with his belt and received zero jail time and a mere $2,500 fine and 2 years of probation. 20
Sycophantic prosecutors, judges, and most juries tend to believe the police over their victims but why on Earth would anyone ever want to have sex with a cop in police custody? Of course, people in custody are held against their will to be questioned for crimes they are suspected of, which cops seek to tie them to so that they can deprive them of their liberty, assets, and sometimes their lives themselves. Who exactly would want to have sex with someone who seeks to do them such harm? A person in custody isn’t even there on their own free will, so there should be no question about consent to sex in this situation. Arresting someone and placing them under custody are just euphemisms for legal kidnap, so essentially kidnappers are claiming their captive wanted sex. Even if someone agrees to have sex in custody to avoid charges, this is still coercion when he or she wouldn’t otherwise agree to it without the threat of jail time and civil forfeiture hanging over their heads. It’s absolutely disgusting this could ever be seen as “consensual.” It is even more disgusting that they are considered to be “doing their jobs” and thus get paid while raping their victims. Prostitutes get paid to have sex. But only pigs get paid to rape. This savage, sick, parasitical system must come to an end.
Most people don’t become cops because they want to “protect and serve”. They do it because of underlying prejudice. They see some minority, usually black, brown, indigenous, gay, immigrant, Muslim, or homeless people as the source of society’s problems and they seek institutional power that will allow them to punish these minorities with impunity. Similarly, some see women as inherently inferior and thus they feel entitled to do as they please with them, and they seek this position of authority in the department because they know they are trusted and the last people most suspect of committing such heinous crimes. What is even more sickening is that prosecutors, judges, and lawmakers allow them this power to rape who they like in custody as they view people in custody as “government property” or little playthings for agents of the state. It’s about time people stop being so naive and wake up to the reality of rape culture and white supremacy within police departments and the state more broadly. People are attracted to positions of power because they want to abuse it. The very nature of authority is unequal and this inequality is what they enforce, not “law and order”.
People who want to do wrong will always be attracted to positions of power. No reform or leader could change that because this is the very nature of hierarchy. If there is a “top,” it is because common people suffer on the bottom of the pyramid. “Do-gooders” never make it to the top because they would crumble the pyramid, which many close to the top are monetarily vested in. No one can be trusted with the kind of authority that the state has. Those who want to protect common people will do it without seeking some formal authority that will absolve them of all responsibility when evidence surfaces that they are abusing their power. By giving the state the authority to “guard” you, you give up your own agency to defend yourself and others. Suddenly, because you are not an authorized “guard” you can do nothing to defend yourself when the guards abuse you or others. Defending yourself becomes a legal matter, in which you have to prove in court you were truly the victim, and the courts always side with the sanctioned “official” guards or those with the most capital to afford the best lawyers or biggest bribes. There is no freedom in it. People want guarantees but in life there are no guarantees; only false ones and false senses of security built on the blood and the captivity of others. Official guards, whether they be border patrol, prison guards, police, military, are only protecting themselves and concentrations of capital and power. We simply need the freedom to do what we think is right and respect others freedoms without borders, capitalism, or a nation state, and the best behaviors will grow out of that freedom.
The NYPD detectives who raped Anna will face a criminal trial tomorrow, January 22nd at 9 AM at Brooklyn Supreme Court (320 Jay St.) and she needs all the support she can get. Come there if you can.
1Emily Saul: Brooklyn DA asks special prosecutor take case of ex-cops accused of raping woman. 01/17/19. NY Post. https://nypost.com/2019/01/17/brooklyn-da-asks-special-prosecutor-take-case-of-ex-cops-accused-of-raping-woman/
2 Graham Rayman: Victim in upcoming cop rape trial accuses prosecutors of ‘corruption’. New York Daily News. January 15 2019. https://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/nyc-crime/ny-metro-brooklyn-rape-cops-victim-accuses-prosecutors-corruption-20190115-story.html?fbclid=IwAR0lWWT03cwyNOAxKTgSMvotwk4idmmwJJUnATtVhbYNRWo2iebfCxXWHnk
3James Ford: Woman who accused 2 NYPD detectives of raping her speaks out. 05/04/18. https://pix11.com/2018/04/05/anna-chambers-woman-who-accused-2-nypd-detectives-of-raping-her-while-in-custody-faces-them-and-speaks-out/
4Albert Samaha: New York Just Passed A Bill Banning Cops From Having Sex With People In Custody. March 30, 2018. https://www.buzzfeednews.com/article/albertsamaha/new-york-police-rape-sex-custody-banned-nypd#.adpeVY8E2
5 James Ford: Woman who accused 2 NYPD detectives of raping her speaks out. 05/04/18. https://pix11.com/2018/04/05/anna-chambers-woman-who-accused-2-nypd-detectives-of-raping-her-while-in-custody-faces-them-and-speaks-out/
6Stop Prison Rape: “Custodial Sexual Misconduct Laws: A State-by-State Legislative Review” July 2004. https://static.prisonpolicy.org/scans/sprcsmstatelaw.pdf
7 National PREA Resource Center: Fifty-State Survey of Criminal Laws Prohibiting Sexual Abuse of Individuals in Custody https://www.prearesourcecenter.org/sites/default/files/library/50statesurvey_0.pdf
8Stop Prison Rape: “Custodial Sexual Misconduct Laws: A State-by-State Legislative Review” July 2004. https://static.prisonpolicy.org/scans/sprcsmstatelaw.pdf
9 HB 112: “An Act relating to sexual assault by a peace officer against a person who is a victim, witness, or perpetrator of a crime.” http://www.akleg.gov/basis/Bill/Text/30?Hsid=HB0112A
10SB 73: “An Act relating to sexual assault by a peace officer against a person who is a victim, witness, or perpetrator of a crime.” http://www.akleg.gov/basis/Bill/Text/30?Hsid=SB0073A
11Delegate Lierman;. Criminal Law – Law Enforcement – Prohibition on Sexual Activity. 10/1/18.http://mgaleg.maryland.gov/webmga/frmMain.aspx?pid=billpage&stab=01&id=hb1292&tab=subject3&ys=2018RS
12Hannah Albaraz; San Francisco Sex Workers Battle For Rights, Legitimacy. 07/06/17. CBS. https://sanfrancisco.cbslocal.com/2017/07/06/san-francisco-sex-workers-battle-for-rights-legitimacy/
14https://www.cnn.com/2018/10/19/us/police-sexual-assaults-maryland-scope/index.html?no-st=15466631Eliott C. McLaughlin: Police officers in the US were charged with more than 400 rapes over a 9-year period. October 19, 201816
15 MATT SEDENSKY: Hundreds of officers lose licenses over sex misconduct. 11/01/15. AP. https://apnews.com/fd1d4d05e561462a85abe50e7eaed4ec
16 Cop Raped as Many as Twenty Infants/Toddlers: Report. http://filmingcops.com/a-family-trusted-cop-to-watch-their-baby-he-raped-it/
17 Laura Italiano: Ex-cop convicted of seducing & raping 14-year-old girl. 02/06/13. https://nypost.com/2013/02/06/ex-cop-convicted-of-seducing-raping-14-year-old-girl/
18 Rebecca “Burt” Rose: Cop Previously Charged With Stalking Shoots and Kills Ex-Girlfriend. 12/17/14. https://jezebel.com/cop-previously-charged-with-stalking-shoots-and-kills-e-1672093656
19 Sebastian Murdock: Ferguson Correctional Officer Jaris Hayden Raped Pregnant Woman, Lawsuit Alleges. 12/06/17. Huffington Post. https://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/11/17/jaris-hayden-ferguson-rape_n_6173566.html
20 Former Louisiana Police Chief Given Probation After Alleged Sexual Assault Of Female Prisoner and Lying To The FBI. 10/02/14. https://jonathanturley.org/2014/10/02/former-louisiana-police-chief-given-probation-after-alleged-sexual-assault-of-female-prisoner-and-lying-to-the-fbi/