The New York City Council Women's Caucus and other activists gathered on the steps of City Hall Friday to voice their anger at the recent acquittal of two police officers accused of rape, promising to take a more active stance if such a situation ever arises again. NY1’s Dean Meminger filed the following report.
Activists gathered in front of State Supreme Court in Lower Manhattan Friday evening to say that no matter what a jury found, they still believe two police officers got away with raping a drunk woman.
Earlier in the day, they joined elected officials at City Hall.
"We stand strong today to let any pervert know, if it happens again, we will be in the courtroom next time,” said City Councilwoman Letita James.
On Thursday, a Manhattan jury of seven men and five women found former Officers Kenneth Moreno and Franklin Mata not guilty of raping the 27-year-old in her East Village apartment.
Moreno admitted on the stand that he held the naked woman and sung to her but never had sex with her.
The jury found there was reasonable doubt over whether or not she was raped.
"A high percentage of sexual assaults involve alcohol or drug use," said Harriet Lessel, executive director of the Alliance Against Sexual Assault.
The woman said she was so drunk she passed out five or six times in her apartment but remembers one of the then on-duty officers having sex with her after they helped her home.
She said she woke up when she was penetrated.
Activists said the woman was brave to come forward, especially because she was blaming New York City Police Department officers.
"She stood up for her rights, stood up for her justice, stood for all of us in doing that," said Sonia Ossorio of the National Organization for Women in New York City.
The women said they are also strongly supporting the hotel maid who is accusing French politician Dominique Strauss-Khan of sexually attacking her.
"One in five women are raped or experience an attempted rape,” said Ossorio. “Less than half, only 40 percent of them ever report it."
According to the protestors, a very small percentage of rapists ever do jail time. Although Moreno and Mata were found not guilty of rape, they were hit with guilty verdicts for official misconduct and could face up to two years behind bars.
Still, the force respects the outcome of the case.
"They jury has spoken, we accept the jury's verdict," said Police Commissioner Ray Kelly.
Despite the support for the verdict, however, Moreno and Mata were immediately fired after the trial. Women's groups said that was the right move and sends a strong message to other officers about misconduct.