In the wake of the one-year prison sentence for official misconduct given to former NYPD officer Kenneth Moreno, who was acquitted in May of raping a woman in her East Village apartment, a protest has been scheduled from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. tonight at Foley Square in Lower Manhattan. Organizers of the protest, End Rape NYPD and NOW-NYC, tell us in a statement, "Today, we're standing with sexual assault victims and promising the NYPD that we're not going away until they demonstrate that they're taking steps to prevent rape, not perpetrate it. Please join us if you can." They're also asking participants to wear red, to show that we're living in a "danger zone."
When Moreno and his partner Franklin Mata (who is to be sentenced on Wednesday) were acquitted of rape and convicted of official misconduct in May, several organizations protested the verdicts in front of the Manhattan Criminal Courthouse. The purpose of tonight's protest is clear:
We demand that Commissioner Raymond Kelly institute a strong, sustained program of comprehensive training on rape, sexual assault, sexual harassment, and proper police conduct for every incoming class of officers; enact a zero-tolerance policy for sexual assault, sexual harassment, and sexualized behavior for on- duty officers; and remain transparent and accountable to New Yorkers while implementing these reforms.
NOW-NYC's director, Sonia Ossorio, says in a statement that while she sees "some semblance of justice" in Moreno's one-year sentence, "The fact that these officers were acquitted of rape in the face of enormous evidence against them remains a bruise on our criminal justice system."
Update (9/9/11): Gothamist has published a long-form feature about the Rape Cop case, written by one of the jurors. It takes you behind the scenes during their deliberations, and explains how they came to their controversial verdict. Buy it today as a PDF or on Kindle.