New York lawmakers have passed a bill that bans police from having sex with people in their custody. After Eddie Martins and Richard Hall were found guilty of having sex with an 18-year-old female last September, the bill was drawn up and passed in March 2018.
The two on-duty officers plead not guilty to the rape charge and others. They had arrested the young lady on a marijuana charges and allegedly raped her in the van they had detained her in. the rape kit had both of their DNA on it.
It could be shocking that such a bill is even being created because officers should just know better; however, this abuse of power is very common. Buzzfeed wrote an article back in February 2018, pointing out that many states don’t actually have laws explicitly defining sexual contact between officers and detainees as non-consensual. The new bill argues that detained people are unable to consent to sex; even if a detainee did consent, the misuse of power will always leave the officer guilty.
There is no manner in which an officer could have sex with someone in their custody and it would be acceptable. If the detainee did consent, why are you having sex whilst on the job? What were the reasons they wanted to have sex with you? Have you lost your mind?
Consensual or not, the message officers are giving is problematic and mentally damaging. Consensual sex is degrading and if a fear tactic is used, detainees may feel pressured to give up their bodies – ultimatums can easily be negotiated this way and actual criminals can be released back into the community instead of being dealt with accordingly. If there is no consent and officers forcefully have sexual encounters with detainees; they have committed sexual assault and have traumatised an individual. Victims could be intimidated to even speak but because their criminal background could potentially discredit them and the power behind the police officers could possibly silence them. All crimes should be treated equal and a profession should not protect criminal behaviour.
New York is one of 35 states that do not deem these encounters as a form of sexual assault – which it is. Before, New York would allow officers on try for rape against detainees as consensual, which at most would be classed as misdemeanours. 158 law enforcement officers all across America since 2006, were charged with sexual assault, sexual battery and unlawful sexual contact. 26 of these cases were acquitted or the charges were dropped after the officers had claimed the act was consensual.
There are 50 states in America and 34 of them do not properly handle officers who abuse their power. The job description is to stop bad things from happening, not to create them. The people that are supposed to help us are putting us in harm’s way and we at LAPP will not stand for that. If someone can be charged up to 5 years for having marijuana on them, then officers raping people whilst on duty should be charged accordingly.
Written by Tolu Martins