You may have read about Police Officers Eddie Martins and Richard Hall and their encounter with an 18 year old woman they were charging with possession of some personal use marijuana. In case you haven’t, well, they arrested her, put her in their police van, drove her to a secluded location and demanded oral sex from her. The cops would of course deny it, except DNA from her mouth matched that of the suspect police officers, so they’re falling back on a different defense; “it was consensual.”
We are criminal defense attorneys too and we get it, you put together the best defense you have even if it’s not a great one. This one, however, is not only desperate, it’s dangerous. When you’re holding a person in custody against their will, sex can never be consensual. The quid pro quo is always at least implied; “you give us sex, we let you go.” If the cops’ defense prevails, it will set a terrible precedent. It will make every arrestee a potential sex partner for perverted cops.
Our firm has had the misfortune of meeting Officer Martins. In that case, him and his partner told an outlandish story of stopping our client because he “failed to signal” while making a left turn. He told an outlandish story of a car chase through downtown Brooklyn which was closer to a fictional cops and robbers movie than anything in real life. At some point, our client just decided to stop, he said, and he was arrested.
Martins and his partner took him back to the precinct and he was strip searched. Not recovering any contraband, his partner claimed that our client “broke free” and managed half naked to make it to the toilet and throw a “large bag” of heroin down the toilet.
At first glance, these stories may seem very different. But they share some things in common. To avoid accountability, most cops are willing to claim anything regardless of the truth. That we know. Martins and his partner have shown some subtlety to his testilying. When the most obvious lie isn’t available — “I didn’t have sex with that woman” “I did find drugs on the prisoner” — go for the fall back lie — “I had sex, but she wanted it” and “he had narcotics, but got away from me and threw them down the toilet and flushed before I could stop him.”
Never mind that these lies make the cops look alternately stupid and incompetent, all that matters is covering up the real abuse. Even self-pride takes a back seat.