On September 15 last year, Anna sat with two friends in a parked car in a parking lot when she was suddenly dazed by a pair of headlights.
It was a gray police car with two plain clothes police officers who approached the teenagers.
Anna, raised in south Brooklyn, often traveled around in a car with her friends in the evenings for lack of anything else to do. Being at home was not an option.
The policemen stepped out of the car and approached Anna and her friends. They were big and muscular guys. Much bigger than Anna.
They showed their police badges and began to ask some questions. They also noticed that there was some marijuana in the car, and the police asked all three of the teens to get out of the car.
They put handcuffs on Anna, but said that her two friends, both young men, were free to go.
They led Anna to an unmarked police car with tinted back windows.
Then the hell began.
Took turns raping her
While she was still wearing handcuffs, the police took turns raping Anna.
One drove the car while the other raped Anna in the back seat, as she prayed and begged them to stop.
After a while they stopped the car, changed drivers and Anna was once again raped.
A few hours later, they released Anna near to where they first stopped her. Just a few hundred meters from a police station, within view of the surveillance cameras.
After she’s released, Anna wraps her arms around her body. She looks confused before she walks up to a stranger and asks to borrow a cell phone to call a friend.
The police never arrested Anna, didn’t issue her a citation or file any paperwork about the stop. Just hours after the assault, Anna went to the hospital with her mother and told her what had happened.
An examination showed that there was semen from Eddie Martins, 37, and Richard Hall, 33, on Anna.
Both worked in Brooklyn South’s narcotics unit.
After the incident was discovered, both police officers filed their resignation and were also charged with rape. A simple case, Anna thought. Two policemen have been proven to have had sex with a young woman while she was in their custody.
But then she received a message on Facebook that would change everything.
Her friend asked if she had evidence that the intercourse was against her will.
Anna didn’t understand, and replied:
“Listen man it doesn’t f***ing matter they’re on duty police officers its a f***ing violation these are the people we call for help not to get f***ed.”
But there was one thing Anna wasn’t aware of. Having sex with a person in police custody is not illegal in all states. And unfortunately, New York – where Anna was raped – is one of the 35 states where it is still allowed.
Policemen can simply claim that the intercourse was consensual.
In some states, this loophole, which already applies to prison officers and probation officers, has been removed. But because many states don’t want to face backlash from big police unions, they don’t want to pass laws that accuse police officers of wrongdoing.
Of the 158 police officers who have been charged with sexual assault since 2006, at least 26 have been acquitted after claiming the encounter was consensual, according to Buffalo News database.
Since Anna’s case has attracted attention, New York City Council member Mark Treyger says that her story has inspired him to push the issue forward. “Our laws regarding sexual consent must be brought into line with basic common sense, empathy, and human decency,” he wrote in a post on Medium.com.
Anna never thought that her story would become the starting point for a change in the law.
Anna’s surname has not been published due to the sensitive nature of the matter. In official documents she is referred to as Anna Doe, but on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram she uses her alias Anna Chambers.
Anna is hopeful for the future and believes that more police officers may be convicted of similar crimes in the future.
“All it took was one voice,” she tells Buzzfeed News.
The terrible thing that Anna endured should never happen to anybody.
But I’m glad that Anna has used her tragedy to shine a light on the problem and effect change.
Share to praise this strong young woman’s bravery!