On Wednesday afternoon, the district attorney’s office announced in Brooklyn Supreme Court that it was dropping the rape and kidnapping charges against two cops who admitted to having sex with an 18-year-old girl in their custody, citing issues of “credibility.”
In September 2017, a woman who goes by the name Anna Chambers said that NYPD detectives Edward Martins and Richard Hall took her into custody for marijuana possession, and then raped her in a police van. While the cops argued that the sexual encounter was consensual, they were indicted and hit with 40-plus charges, including rape and kidnapping, which altogether carried a sentence of up to 25 years.
On Wednesday, as expected, those charges were thrown out. Following the ex-officers’ repeated claim that Chambers had lied under oath — which she has disputed — the district attorney’s office dropped nearly all the charges against them. Instead, they were given two new minor charges: felony bribery and official misconduct, which come with a minimum prison sentence of two-and-one-third to seven years.
In a statement distributed to reporters following the court appearance, a spokesperson for district attorney Eric Gonzalez said the DA’s office is “fully committed to holding these defendants accountable,” but that it could not prosecute the cops due to “unforeseen and serious credibility issues.”
The statement also made a nod to the change in New York’s sexual-assault law, which was inspired by Chambers’s case. Eight months after Chambers first came forward, New York state legislators passed a bill banning cops from having sex with people in their custody — something many people were shocked to learn wasn’t technically illegal. The new law, however, could not help Chambers’s case.
“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,” the statement continues. “However, that was not the law at the time of the incident.”
Absent from the Brooklyn Supreme Court today was Chambers, who, according to the New York Post, will not be called on to testify if the case goes to trial. However, her legal battle might not be over yet. Following the court appearance, Chambers’s attorney, Michael David, told the New York Daily News that he hopes to take the case to the U.S. Attorney’s office.
“She’s so fed up and depressed about this whole situation, that she’s in a state of hopelessness right now,” David said. “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.”