An 18-year-old woman was allegedly harassed at a hospital by several members of the New York Police Department just hours after she was allegedly raped by two of their colleagues, according to her lawyer.
The victim, who uses the name Anna Chambers online, was at the Maimonides Medical Center in Brooklyn this September for a sexual assault forensic exam ― commonly referred to as a rape kit ― when the NYPD officers approached, her attorney Michael David told HuffPost.
“Nine cops came initially from the 60th Precinct and then another four or five from another precinct,” David said. “They were basically trying to intimidate [Chambers] and her mother ... to get them to say it wasn’t cops.”
David said he only learned of the alleged intimidation attempt earlier this month during a meeting with Chambers’ mother. She mentioned that cops had “bullied” them at the hospital on the night of the assault, he said.
According to David, the group of officers interrogated Chambers and her mother after the hospital had filed a report about the rape allegation with the police. One cop spoke to Chambers’ mother in Russian, her native language, and allegedly told her that Chambers often filed complaints against police. But David said his client had “never” filed a complaint ― until that day.
The lawyer said a nurse who witnessed the interrogation allegedly told Chambers’ mother to “be strong” and “stand up” for her daughter.
I know what cops look like. They had guns, there were handcuffs, and the police radio was on. Anna Chambers, according to her lawyer's account
Chambers was repeatedly told that her attackers hadn’t been police officers, according to David. “You don’t know what you’re talking about,” the Russian-speaking cop allegedly told her.
But Chambers pushed back against the alleged intimidation attempt and followed through with the forensic exam, according to The New York Post.
“I know what cops look like,” Chambers told the officer, based on her lawyer’s account in the Post. “They had guns, there were handcuffs, and the police radio was on.”
According to prosecutors, the alleged sexual assault began around 8 p.m. on Sept. 15 after two Brooklyn South narcotics detectives ― Eddie Martins, 37, and Richard Hall, 33 ― stopped her and two male friends in a local park.
Prosecutors described in court what happened next: Chambers said the cops told her to lift up her shirt so they could search her for drugs and then ordered her friends to leave, the prosecutors said. Next she said she was handcuffed, taken into an unmarked van, and told she would be driven to the 60th Precinct. Instead, the cops allegedly parked the van at a nearby Chipotle restaurant and forced her to perform oral sex on them before raping her. Then they released her.
Chambers said she went to the hospital with her mother almost immediately afterward.
DNA from Martins and Hall matched genetic material recovered from Chambers during the medical exam, according to The New York Post. The pair have admitted to having sex with Chambers while on the job, but claim it was consensual.
Sexual violence experts have pointed out that it would be nearly impossible for Chambers to freely consent to having sex with the officers, given the power dynamics involved.
“Someone in police custody cannot give consent, in any meaningful sense of the word, to the officer holding them,” The Intercept’s Natasha Lennard wrote about the case last month. “Claiming to have received consent, whether it is based in any truth or not, betrays a policing culture that refuses to recognize its own outsized power over those it alleges to protect and serve.”
The defense teams for the accused officers attempted to undermine Chambers’ credibility by attacking her social media presence in a letter to the Brooklyn district attorney’s office, the Post reported last month. The lawyers claimed that Chambers’ posts since the alleged attack, which include a “provocative ‘selfie’” and videos of her rapping, suggest behavior that is “unprecedented for a depressed victim of a vicious rape.”
Martins and Hall pleaded not guilty to a 50-count indictment last month. They also resigned from the police force earlier this month.
A representative for the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association of the City of New York did not immediately return HuffPost’s request for comment.
“Any complaints received will be fully investigated,” an NYPD representative told HuffPost in an email.
Chambers has filed a $50 million claim against the city. A civil hearing is scheduled for Dec. 8.