On rape acquittal & jury verdicts

Two NYC cops were acquitted of raping a drunk woman in her apartment today.

Over on Facebook, after I posted about this, someone asked if I’d seen the evidence. No, why? I asked. He said that it was hard to critique a verdict without actually being there.


The best response came from Thomas MacAulay Millar:

If we atomize the world, it’s difficult to critique anything. But if we look across many different criminal justice systems, civil legal systems, less formal adjudicative systems, etc., and find that unlike other serious personal violations, accused rapists are strikingly unlikely to be held to account for their conduct in any way; that there is a public assumption that the complainant is lying and has improper motives out of proportion to other allegations of personal misconduct; there is a social structure within which the verdict exists; then we don’t need to pretend that the verdict is some isolated phenomena, because we can see that it is in line with a pattern of power in society. That’s why we can say with some authority that the all-white juries in the Jim Crow South were acting unjustly when they acquitted white people who harmed black people, even though we did not see the evidence. We can’t send wrongdoers to prison based on an analysis of social structure, but we sure can call an outrage an outrage.

Join me and about a bazillion other people at this protest tomorrow, Friday May 27, in front of the Manhattan Criminal Court building at 100 Centre Street., 5pm-7pm.