A Brooklyn teen who has accused two NYPD officers of sexual assault is now having her credibility "smeared," her lawyer told BuzzFeed News, after a report the police were citing her social media use to deny her claims.
The 18-year-old from Brooklyn, who goes by the pseudonym Anna Chambers on social media, has alleged that she was sexually assaulted by two undercover cops in an unmarked police van last month. She and her lawyer are now calling for charges to be laid.
Lawyers for accused Officers Richard Hall and Eddie Martins have cited Chambers' "provocative 'selfies'" and other social media posts as an indication she was not assaulted, according to a letter the attorneys wrote to the Brooklyn District Attorney's office that was obtained by the New York Post.
“This behavior is unprecedented for a depressed victim of a vicious rape,” lawyers John Arlia and Mark Bederow reportedly wrote of Chambers' online activity.
The lawyers requested that prosecutors "further investigate Chambers’ dubious claim before you ask the grand jury to return an indictment against Martins and Hall.”
Bederow, one of the lawyers representing the accused officers, declined to comment to BuzzFeed News "on anyone’s characterization based on the Post article," but "caution[ed] people not to assume the accuracy of what happened simply upon unchallenged accusations."
Arlia did not immediately respond to request for comment.
Chambers referred a request for comment to her lawyer, Michael David, who called the officers' attempts to "smear" his client "disgusting."
"She’s a teenager; teenagers post on social media all the time," said David. "And what is a rape victim supposed to do? She’s not supposed to post on social media?"
"Whatever photos she puts up...that doesn’t make [her] into a bad person that’s 'asking for it,'" said David. "It doesn’t change what happened to her."
The Brooklyn District Attorney's office also rejected the characterization of Chambers' social media use.
“Without commenting on this ongoing investigation, defense counsel’s characterization of how a rape victim should behave is inaccurate, inappropriate, and demeaning," a spokesperson for the DA's office told the Post.
According to David, Chambers was pulled over by Hall and Martins, with the Brooklyn South narcotics squad, on Sept. 15 in Coney Island.
The officers searched Chambers, as well as two male friends who were also in the car and were found to have prescription pills on them, said David.
Then "they made her take off her bra," claiming it was necessary to see if she was hiding anything, David said.
At this point, according to David, the cops let the two males go, but cuffed Chambers, took her in their van, and drove her to a nearby Chipotle parking lot.
Saying they'd take her to the police station if she didn't comply, the two cops forced Chambers to perform oral sex on each of them, and one raped her, alleged David.
"She was handcuffed the whole time the rape occurred," said David.
After that, they drove Chambers around for about 25 minutes, then "kicked her out and just floored it" down the block from the precinct, David said.
Chambers found her way back to one of her friends from earlier in the evening, who drove her to her mom's house. They then went to the hospital to collect evidence.
DNA evidence collected at the hospital was confirmed to be a positive match to Martins and Hall, said David.
The officers have not denied that the sex acts took place, but claim it was consensual, according to the New York Post.
An NYPD spokesperson told BuzzFeed News they are investigating the allegations, and that the two officers and their sergeant have been placed on "modified assignment." They've also been stripped of their badges and guns, the Post reported.
People are rallying in support of Chambers, both in the streets and on social media.
People also marched in Brooklyn last week to protest the NYPD's treatment of Chambers.
On Twitter, Chambers has been sharing messages of support and thanking people for believing her story.
On Tuesday, a Brooklyn councilman announced that he's working on legislation that would make it illegal for police officers to have sex with anyone in police custody.
“Our laws regarding sexual consent must be brought into line with basic common sense, empathy, and human decency,” Councilman Mark Treyger wrote in a Medium post.
Despite the claims that the sexual activity with Chambers was consensual, Treyger said it was still "deeply, morally wrong."
“Regardless of legal outcomes, we know that it is wrong for two police officers to use their positions of authority to engage in sexual activity with a teenager,” Treyger wrote.
“The abuse of power exercised by these two detectives rattles the foundations of positive police-community relations that the law enforcement community has been working to build," he wrote.
Julia Reinstein is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.
Contact Julia Reinstein at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Got a confidential tip? Submit it here.