In 2017, two NYPD detectives admitted to having sex with a teen in their custody. The detectives were charged with rape and kidnapping, but on Wednesday, Brooklyn prosecutors dismissed those charges.
According to the New York Daily News, former cops Richard Hall and Eddie Martins now face bribery and official misconduct charges for the September 2017 incident, in which they admitted to having sex with a teen identified as Anna Chambers after arresting her on a minor drug charge in Brooklyn.
Chambers, now 20, alleged the cops raped her, and DNA was found on her. The Brooklyn DA’s office, however, claimed Chambers made a number of “false, misleading and inconsistent statements,” including “false statements under oath,” which may have contributed to the dismissal. And though it is now (at long last) illegal for cops in New York to have sex with people in custody, that law did not exist in 2017. The age of consent in New York is 17.
Chambers’s lawyer, Michael David, told the New York Post it was “outrageous” that the DA’s office dropped the rape and kidnapping charges. Per the Post:
“It was a clear-cut case. She was kidnapped. There was DNA evidence,” he said.
“You can’t have consent, when you have two cops on duty. These are two cops over six feet, over two hundred pounds,” he said.
“She is 5-foot-2, 90 pounds,” he added of Chambers, who did not attend Wednesday’s court hearing.
“They have guns, they have handcuffs. You can’t have consent under those circumstances.”
The Brooklyn DA’s office says that though the most serious charges against the cops have been dropped, they will continue to pursue justice on the new indictment. “We are fully committed to holding to holding these defendants accountable by vigorously pursuing the charges in this case that can be proven with independent and reliable evidence,” a spokesperson for the DA’s office told the New York Daily News. “We believe — as the newly-created statute recognizes — that any sexual conduct between police officers and a person in their custody should constitute a crime. However, that was not the law at the time of the incident.”
David, meanwhile, intends to take the case to the U.S. Attorney’s office, and notes that Chambers is “in a state of hopelessness” over the dropped charges. “This is a bad message for all victims of sexual assault in this country. It’s just a horrible message that they won’t prosecute a rape case against cops,” he told the New York Daily News.
Martins and Hall face a maximum of just over two years to 7 years in prison on the new indictment.
Correction: A previous version of this post referred to Anna Chambers as a “17-year-old woman.” Buzzfeed News reports that she was 18 at the time of the alleged rape. We have also amended the post to clarify that a teen is a teen.