Officers Kenneth Moreno and Franklin Mata were acquitted today by a Manhattan jury of raping an intoxicated woman they were supposed to be helping. Hooray for Mata and Moreno. Tough luck for all the other cops in the NYPD and police departments throughout our country. Another nail in the already stained and tarnished coffin of police officers. I will no longer refer to these two as police officers or cops – in fact, they aren’t anymore. Commissioner Kelly’s justice was swift, and they were fired just hours after being acquitted. But I didn’t have to wait for Kelly to drop the hammer on them to stop referring to them by the title that they certainly do not deserve. I lost all respect for them a long time ago.
Just use that wonderful device you’re reading my blog with and peruse the newspapers of major cities from coast to coast. You won’t have a problem locating stories of police corruption and misconduct. That in itself is troubling, but read the comments that are left by the readers. The anti police sentiment is even more troubling. It seemed that after September 11th police in New York and across the country were held in high esteem. It took a tragic event such as that for people to realize the courage and commitment of those who take an oath to serve and protect them. Disgraced individuals such as Moreno and Mata and others who violate their oaths and the public trust are slowly eroding whatever esteem the public still has for cops. There will always be those who dislike cops no matter what. Whether this dislike is justified or not and the reasons for it – that’s a topic for another blog piece. But what these unworthy few have done is ruin the reputation of the police among not just the usual haters, but the general public.
Whether you agree or disagree on whether Moreno and Mata raped that young woman is a moot point. The jury has decided and the verdict is in. I believe, like most people who have been following this story, that there was sex in that apartment that night between Moreno and the victim. I base that on the content of his testimony, the victim’s testimony, and the audio recording of Moreno stating that he wore a condom. Moreno and Mata took advantage of the situation they were in, took advantage of someone who they were supposed to protect that night. And in the process, they have disgraced the uniform and badge of every single police officer who dedicates his or her life to public service. They have disgraced the police officers whose names are etched in marble at that memorial in our nation’s capital dedicated to those police officers throughout our country who have made the supreme sacrifice while serving others. Moreno and Mata have chipped away another little piece of the already fragile veneer of respect and trust that must exist between the police and those that they serve. And as they did so, they made the jobs of the good cops that much harder.