Renewed Call Comes After State Assembly Passes Bill Closing Consent Loophole
City Hall, NY – Taking action to protect the rights of individuals who come into contact with law enforcement, Council Speaker Corey Johnson, Council Member Mark Treyger, and Public Safety Committee Chair Donovan Richards today renewed their call for the State Senate to prohibit sexual contact between police officers and individuals in their custody. The Council will hold a hearing on a resolution urging the State to pass this important legislation and stand up for civil rights.
Currently, a state statute exists that prohibits sexual contact between corrections or parole officers and the individuals in their custody. However, it does not explicitly indicate the legality of such contact between police officers and those who they detain or take into custody.
Council Member Mark Treyger introduced a resolution, now Res. 177, shortly after a related incident in October 2017. Two NYPD officers were ultimately charged with rape after engaging in sexual activity with an 18-year old woman whom they had taken into custody.
“This antiquated loophole creates a dangerous lack of accountability regarding sexual assault and rape, and sets an unacceptable precedent regarding the power that officers can wield. The NYPD needs to maintain its integrity so that our community members can trust them. Officers are obligated to protect people in their custody, who cannot consent to sexual activity,” said Speaker Corey Johnson. “The Council urges the State Senate to consider and pass this legislation swiftly – we cannot afford to delay this any longer.”
“The power dynamic that exists between a law enforcement official and an individual in their custody precludes any possibility of meaningful consent being given free from coercion. Our laws must be aligned with basic common sense and decency,” said Council Member Mark Treyger. “I call on the State Senate to pass this legislation, and I thank Speaker Johnson and my colleagues for their support.”
“When an officer has a person’s freedom in the palm of their hands, that person is in no position to make a reasonable and thoughtful decision on consent,” said Council Member Donovan Richards, Chair of the Committee on Public Safety. “Any officer who uses this power for their own personal gain is violating public trust and abusing the power given to them by the City of New York. I am honored to stand with Speaker Johnson and Council Member Treyger to call on the State Senate to pass this legislation and close this nonsensical loophole.”