2 NYPD officers accused of sexually assaulting handcuffed woman quit before hearing
The officers quit three days before a departmental trial was set to begin.
— -- Two New York City police officers charged with sexually assaulting an 18-year-old woman in September quit their jobs Monday, three days before they were scheduled to face a departmental trial.
Officers Eddie Martins and Richard Hall, formerly detectives assigned to the Brooklyn South Narcotics Division, appeared at police headquarters and quit their employment with the NYPD, the department said in a statement Monday.
According to the indictment, the 18-year-old woman told investigators the two men forced her to commit sex acts on them when they arrested her Sept. 15 in Bath Beach for possession of marijuana and anti-anxiety drugs.
“When a member of the NYPD is indicted on serious charges like these, it tarnishes all of the admirable things accomplished by other, good officers every day in neighborhoods across New York City,” Police Commissioner James O’Neill said in a separate statement. “The two men at the center of these allegations quit their jobs as police officers. Had these charges been upheld in an upcoming departmental trial, I would have fired them immediately.”
By choosing to quit before the departmental hearing, Martins and Hall retain at least part of their pensions.
The officers had been placed on modified duty and their guns and badges had been taken. Their sergeant was also placed on modified duty for failing to supervise Martins and Hall. The two officers were also demoted from probationary detectives to police officers and were suspended by the department.
In a statement to ABC News, Martins' attorney, Mark Bederow, said that "interpreting Martins’ resignation as proof that the criminal allegations against him are true is facile."
"The NYPD sought to compel him to speak after everybody knew Martins had been indicted for very serious charges," Bederow said in the statement. "In addition, 'police sources' repeatedly had leaked details of the investigation to the media, including statements Martins allegedly made to police officers. No responsible lawyer planning on vigorously challenging the criminal charges would allow a client to speak to the police under these circumstances."
The two officers have been charged with rape, criminal sexual acts, and kidnapping in a 50-count indictment. Martins and Hall pleaded not guilty to criminal charges. They are due back in court in January.
According to court records, the two officers were on-duty and riding in a Dodge Caravan while working as part of a team of plainclothes detectives conducting a so-called "buy and bust" anti-drug operation. They stopped an Infinity Coupe driven by an 18-year-old woman with two male passengers. There was a quantity of marijuana in the front seat cup holder. The officers instructed the three occupants to step out of the car and asked if they had any drugs on them. The young woman responded she had marijuana and two Klonopin pills. The detectives handcuffed the woman, told her she was under arrest and would be getting a desk appearance ticket.
The officers then allegedly instructed the young woman to call her friends and tell them not to follow the minivan. Martins allegedly told the young woman he and his partner are “freaks” and asked her what she wanted to do to get out of the arrest. It is alleged that Martins forced the handcuffed teen to perform a sex act on him while seated in the back seat of the van as Hall drove and watched through the rearview mirror. Martins then allegedly raped the victim.
Court records also said the officers stopped the van four miles away and switched places. Martins got behind the wheel and Hall got into the back seat of the van, where he allegedly forced the victim to perform a sex act on him. They then allegedly drove back to the vicinity of the 60th Precinct in Coney Island and had the victim call her friends again to tell them she was being let go. They allegedly gave her back the Klonopin pills, told her to keep her mouth shut and released her.
The victim told her friends what happened and, later that evening, was taken to Maimonides Hospital, where a sexual assault evidence collection kit was prepared, according the indictment, which also indicates that DNA recovered from the victim was a match to both of the defendants. Video surveillance shows the victim exiting the police van at approximately 8:42 p.m.
The victim’s attorney has filed a notice of claim with the comptroller's office, asking for $50 million in damages.
Bederow said Martins would fight the charges.
“Our sole emphasis is on exposing the falsity of the allegations against him in the criminal case,” Bederow said. “I am confident that as this case moves from the court of public opinion and into the court of law, where it will be governed by the requirement of credible evidence rather than unchallenged allegations, it will become crystal clear that Eddie Martins did not rape or sexually assault the young woman. With that in mind, I urge people to respect the presumption of innocence and keep an open mind.”
Hall’s attorney, John Arlia, did not immediately respond to ABC News' request for comment.