The New York City Council’s Women Caucus applauds the swift and decisive actions of Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly in removing the two officers, Officers Kenneth Moreno and Franklin Mata, who were found guilty on May 26, 2011 of official misconduct in the rape trial of an intoxicated woman whom they were summoned to assist.
We were disappointed that the jury found that the officers were not guilty of all other charges which included rape, burglary and falsifying business records; despite the admission of making a false 911 call, keeping the woman’s keys to re-enter her apartment on several occasions, and Officer Moreno’s testimony that while on duty he cuddled with the nearly naked woman in her bed and sang her a song.
Although the criminal justice system failed us, these officers who, by their own admission, abandoned their duties and violated the law were held accountable. Commissioner Kelly’s actions demonstrated that this behavior will not be tolerated by the City of New York.
STATEMENTS FROM INDIVIDUAL MEMBERS AND ADVOCATES
“With the conclusion of this trial, I thank and respect the jury for their work on this very public and difficult case. That said, I am shocked and disappointed that these individuals were not convicted of the more serious charges that were brought against them. I am pleased Commissioner Kelly is moving swiftly to terminate the defendants from the Police Department in light of their shameful criminal actions,” said Council Speaker Christine Quinn. “Most importantly I want to commend the victim for her courage to bring such a shocking and extremely personal experience before the public, knowing that the road to justice would not be an easy one. While many are deterred from speaking out on such issues, this case serves as a powerful reminder of the importance of standing up for our individual rights and personal safety. I stand with women today that may be dealing with similar issues, and encourage anyone to speak out when they feel their rights are being violated – no matter who the attacker may be or what position they may hold.”
“I am saddened and dismayed by this verdict, but mostly, I am inspired by the woman who had the courage to seek justice and speak out. I hope this will not deter other women from doing the same,” said Council Member Jessica Lappin, Co-Chair of the Women’s Caucus.
“While the acquittal of these two officers were disappointing, the immediate action of Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly in dismissing Officers Moreno and Mata provided some justice,” said Council Member Rosie Mendez, Co-Chair of the Women’s Caucus. “I hope the judge imposes the maximum penalty for the charge of official misconduct to these two officers who clearly abused their power and admitted to violating the laws they swore to protect.”
“As the chair of the women’s issues committee I am appalled by yesterday’s verdict. I am disheartened that the full extent of the law was not applied to the two individuals whom clearly abused their power. The result in this case shows us that we have a long way to go for true equality and justice for all women. I commend the police commissioner for dismissing these two individuals who are not representatives of the hard working women and men in the NYPD,” said Council Member Julissa Ferreras, Chair of the Women’s Issues Committee.
“What is particularly galling about this verdict of Not Guilty is that it destroys the trust between women and the police department. Two rotten individuals falsified a 911 call, came and went from someone’s apartment – who they were charged with assisting – three times without permission, while one even admitted that he entered her bed on the night of December 7, 2008. I am not second guessing the jury, but I cannot fathom why the officers were not convicted of rape. How could they be convicted of only three counts of official misconduct? I commend Commissioner Ray Kelly for firing them, and I wholeheartedly commend the woman who came forward after experiencing the horrific interaction with the officers. However, what precedent was sent here? Will other women who have been raped have the same courage after seeing that in this case a brave woman was not taken seriously?” said Council Member Gale A. Brewer.
“I am disappointed that these officers were found innocent on charges of rape. Their actions, regardless of the jury’s finding, were heinous and a violation of the public trust. I applaud Commissioner Kelly for his immediate action to remove these officers from the NYPD; and I hope that this case serves as a lesson to other public servants and to everyone that taking advantage of women is never acceptable,” said Council Member Margaret Chin.
“The vast majority of the men and women in the NYPD put their lives on the line every day to protect the citizens of our city. What these two men did was a disgrace. They deserve the harshest punishment and should be banished from law enforcement forever,” said Council Member Inez E. Dickens, Assistant Deputy Majority Leader.
“These officers violated the public’s trust and their oath of office. It is unfortunate that the jury did not find the victim’s testimony credible, even in the face of compelling supporting evidence. I respect the criminal justice system but this verdict shocks the conscience and is a wake up call to all women that sexism still thrives in our society,” said Council Member Letitia James.
“In this verdict yesterday justice was absolutely not served. I am appalled by this outcome. Going forward I hope that they face the maximum punishment possible,” said Council Member Karen Koslowitz.
“Yesterday’s decision demonstrates yet again the difficulties faced by women who seek justice after suffering an attack,” said Council Member Melissa Mark-Viverito. “This woman, like so many others, showed enormous strength in coming forward, knowing full well that her character would be maligned. Regardless of whether or not the jury believed that intercourse occurred, even the details that Mr. Moreno himself admitted to should have been considered a severe violation of this woman’s rights. I do applaud Commissioner Kelly for immediately firing these two officers and hope this case will not further dissuade other women from reporting incidences sexual assault and rape.”
“The jury’s decision to acquit the officers in question of the most serious accusations is stunning and extremely disappointing, to say the least,” said Council Member Annabel Palma. “The unfortunate reality is that this decision sends a troubling message to women across the City. The decision by the NYPD to fire the officers is an important step forward, but obviously this incident has shaken the public’s trust.”
“I applaud the swift and decisive actions of Commissioner Kelly in dismissing two police officers that have forever shamed themselves and the great city they were sworn to protect. The heinous actions of Officers Moreno and Tata are not reflective of our city’s finest, and the fact that a jury of their peers did not recognize this is disturbing. Nevertheless, the people of New York wouldn’t have accepted anything less than their immediate dismissal,” said Council Member Debbie Rose.
“We applaud the courage and fearlessness of the woman at the center of this case who came forward seeking justice,” said Sonia Ossorio, Executive Director of the National Organization for Women of NYC. “The majority of rapes are never reported and only 6 percent of rapists ever spend a day in jail. We have a long way to go as a society in understanding rape and ensuring justice.”
“When you look at the uncontested facts of the case, the police officers’ behavior was outrageous. This is not about a single case. It is about society’s tendency to blame the victim and place their conduct under a microscope. Drinking is not a rapable offense. Rape is a crime. Standing in solidarity with the Commissioner, Mayor, Council and our allies, this conduct will not be tolerated. Not in our city. Not on our watch. Never.” said Harriet Lessel, Executive Director of the New York City Alliance Against Sexual Assault.
Kala Ganesh, Executive Director of CONNECT said, “CONNECT is deeply saddened and disappointed by the jury’s acquittal of the police officers on charges of rape, burglary and falsifying business records. The verdict highlights the fact that we live in a culture where women’s experiences of violence are not believed or taken as seriously as they should. This verdict is a blow to women everywhere and all victims of sexual assault who have had the courage to speak out. CONNECT applauds ADA Coleen Balbert and her colleagues at the Manhattan D.A.’s office for their vigorous and skillful handling of the case. The jury’s decision to acquit represents the larger societal blindness and collusion with a culture that tolerates rape and violence and the abuse of power. Activists in New York City will continue our work to transform the attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors that allowed this to happen.”