A little over a month ago, two former New York City police officers, Kenneth Moreno and Franklin Mata, were found not guilty of raping a woman while on duty. According to the victim in the case, after needing help to get into her apartment because she was intoxicated, she blacked out and woke up to find Officer Moreno raping her.
The victim recounted:
“I woke up to being penetrated from behind,” she said. “I woke up because the action of his penetration was so hard that my head was moving toward the window [at the head of her bed] like it was going to go through it.”
The woman said she had no way to fight back “because I was so intoxicated, I was dead weight …I couldn’t say or do anything.”
Despite surveillance evidence showing the officers returned to the victim’s apartment multiple times that evening and even faked 911 call; they were acquitted of rape due to the lack of physical evidence.
Now, another woman has come forward claiming the officers harassed her in August 2008 outside of a bar in the East Village section of Manhattan. According to Jezebel and the Village Voice, the 21-year-old woman—who was celebrating her upcoming semester in India—got into an argument with the bartender. After going outside, she spotted a group of teens who she believed stole her friend’s iPhone from her purse. The woman, referred to as “Caitlin,” banged on the bar door to report the theft, but the cops were called and she had a run in with Officers Moreno and Mata.
The Village Voice reports:
“They aren’t taking me seriously from the beginning,” she tells the Voice during an interview at Junior’s Restaurant in Brooklyn. “I’m trying to be reasonable and rational, saying my things were stolen, and they are laughing and giggling, patronizing me. So I get upset. They grab me, push me against the car, handcuff me, and put me in the back seat. They aren’t taking my report. They also hit my friend.”
While she was in the police car, Caitlin says Mata looked through her bag, took out a sanitary pad, and said, “Is this why you’re so cranky?”
“I get pissed,” she says. “I opened the car door, and he kicked or pushed me back in the door so hard that my glasses fell off. I asked him to get them, and he said, ‘You’re a smart girl. Get them for yourself.'”
Later, Mata teased her, “You’re not going to India now.”
Because she had no money and no phone Caitlin says she asked a couple for money to take the subway. They called the police and Mata and Moreno showed up again. And according to Caitlin, the altercation escalated.
“I was trying to reason with him earlier, but I was mad that he threw the money on the floor,” she says. “He got pissed, pushed me against the car, knocked my friend down, and handcuffed me really hard. He puts me in the car, and drives to the precinct, saying, ‘You’re going to love sleeping in jail.'”
Caitlin was taken to jail, charged with disorderly conduct and held overnight in jail. After she was released, she filed a complaint with the Civilian Complaint Review Board and the 9th Precinct, where her bruises were photographed. Despite being questioned by prosecutors in the rape case, Caitlin wasn’t called to share her story in court.
“I was shocked and upset that they didn’t use my case in the trial,” she told the Village Voice. “My case could have helped. You had another example of severe misconduct involving the same officers-abuse of power, involving the opposite sex, a vulnerable victim. It shows a pattern of misconduct.”
This incident, along with the Dominique Strauss-Kahn fiasco, has reminded us that unless a woman is considered “pure,” her status as a victim always comes into question.