Reporting Pablo Guzmán
NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Demonstrators rallied Friday to protest the not guilty verdict of two New York City police officers who were accused of raping a woman in 2008.
A small group of New Yorkers, including several feminist groups, gathered Friday evening in front of the Manhattan Criminal Court building to protest the not guilty verdict, reports CBS 2′s Pablo Guzman.
The protesters called for better training in the police academy for new officers on issues of rape, sexual assault and proper police conduct.
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“I want to send a message to all individuals who would prey on vulnerable women: it is unacceptable – unacceptable – to take advantage of a woman in that state,” City Councilwoman Letitia James said. “A ‘no’ is a ‘no’, even if you’re intoxicated.”
Jurors said the two officers were acquitted because they determined there was not enough evidence to support a rape conviction based solely on the word of the woman, who was admittedly very drunk and passing out.
Even as the word spread outside the courthouse after Thursday’s verdict, the reaction against the officers and the decision was immediate.
“There are certain things that are just obvious to the people,” Carl Tyler said. “People are outraged about this verdict. That is unbelievable.”
Officer Moreno’s lawyer said the woman made her story up.
“Whether she’s confused, lying, began to embellish the story after she, you know, filed a lawsuit – I don’t know,” defense attorney Joseph Tacopina said.
Many people said that the prosecutors messed up, that they blew the case. Noted criminal defense attorney Gerald Lefcourt explained why the prosecution had their hands tied.
“DNA, you know – people expect proof beyond a reasonable doubt,” Lefcourt said. “In addition to not having any science, and real scientific evidence, they also had a victim who couldn’t remember significant things. That combination is devastating.”
“If it looks like a duck, and it walks like a duck, and it quacks like a duck, I think it’s a duck,” one protestor said.
Moreno and Mata were at the courthouse Friday briefly to pick up some papers from the probation department.
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