So, former NYPD officer Kenneth Moreno would like the world to feel bad for having to travel the “rough road” of the past two and half years since he was indicted for raping an intoxicated woman after escorting her to her apartment. Last Thursday, Moreno was found not guilty, as was former officer Franklin Mata who allegedly stood watch while Moreno raped the woman in her own home.
That’s right. The man who was recorded saying he “used a condom” and admitted to fondling and kissing her, finds “it hard to believe that people can’t believe a gentleman said no.”
This statement alone makes me want to hit the streets [again] with a couple hundred of my closest friends and activists, until the rest of NYC, the rest of the country, the rest of the world snaps back to their humanity and realizes that the culture of rape and violence and entitlement which led a jury to acquit these men must stop.
Friday, May 27, I joined hundreds of protesters outside the Manhattan Criminal Court building to demand accountability from the NYPD for this incident, and for the NYPD to institute training for their officers on sexual assault awareness and responsiveness. I changed and marched in solidarity with people who are angry, and ready to take action. In addition to Friday’s protest, people from all over the country have been writing, blogging, tweeting, taking it to the streets – including the art-activist responsible for posting “NYPD RAPISTS” posters throughout the East Village.
The victim called the police to be escorted home because she trusted them to keep her safe – “to protect and serve” right? This acquittal goes beyond the injustice served to this woman who was victimized by a gross abuse of power. It is born of victim blaming, shaming, and doubting that is systemic in a culture of institutionalized violence and patriarchical entitlement. Message received: Do not trust those in power who are supposed to be keeping us safe, and the justice system will protect them, not you.
While the justice system has very little to offer the victim of this crime, the NYPD has an opportunity to send a new message to the people of NYC. In order to do this though, they must take action, as we have. Institute training for all NYPD officers which will train them on sexual assault awareness, prevention and compassionate and effective responsiveness. Test rape kits, prosecute rapists, and be careful who you trust.