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NYC sex-assault survivors ask feds to probe NYPD over alleged gender bias

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More than a dozen Big Apple sexual-assault survivors have penned a letter to the Department of Justice asking for a probe into the NYPD’s “ongoing mistreatment of gender-based-violence” victims and its alleged failure to properly investigate their cases, The Post has learned. 

The letter — sent Monday to US Attorney General Merrick Garland, his top deputy, Vanita Gupta, and the assistant attorney general of the DOJ’s Civil Rights Division, Kristen Clarke — asks the feds to open a “patterns-or-practice” probe into the NYPD to examine allegations of gender bias when investigating sex crimes. 

“Because we wanted to protect others from the kinds of harm we suffered, as well as to seek justice for ourselves, we reported our assaults to the NYPD,” says the letter, signed by 19 people — 17 gender-based-violence survivors and two mothers of victims. 

“We expected that the well-funded, technologically sophisticated police agency of the nation’s largest city would respond to our assaults with professionalism and with thorough, skillful, truth-seeking investigations,” the letter states.

“What we experienced was the opposite.” 

The survivors wrote that their cases were assigned to officers who either didn’t know what they were doing or didn’t seem to care, failing to interview key witnesses or obtain crucial surveillance footage.

One person was asked by her detective if she was “sure” she wanted to prosecute her attacker because “who knows, you could end up dating him,” and a disabled survivor was asked if they were sure they “fully understood” their rape, the letter says. 

“In many cases, these failures damaged our cases beyond repair and destroyed our hopes of seeing our attackers held accountable,” the letter states, calling the NYPD’s response to sex crimes both “negligent and sexist.” 

Leslie McFadden, one of the letter’s signers, told The Post she expected a swift and thorough investigation when she reported her rape to the NYPD in October 2015 but instead, she was tricked into closing the case. 

“The very first thing that the detective asked me when he was interviewing me was essentially, ‘Is this really a case of assault, or is it a case of regret?’” McFadden, 37, explained by phone. 

“So I had to start my conversation with this detective defending myself, having to explain why I was wasting his time with my rape, and it just went downhill from there.” 

The content designer, who now lives in California, said she was asked to record a phone call with her attacker that she wasn’t properly prepared for, and at the end, while she was sobbing and in distress, the detective shoved a document in front of her and asked her to sign it. 

“What he didn’t tell me was that it was a case-closure form, and he used that form to close my case without my knowledge shortly after I signed it,” McFadden said. 

“From the very beginning, I was lied to, I was dismissed. … It has been a gut punch to deal with [the NYPD].” 

Desdemona Dallas Meck, who also signed the letter, was 22 years old when two men attempted to rape them in The Bronx in 2010. When they later reported the crime to a female NYPD detective, they were told they “should toughen up” and asked if they were sure they didn’t do something to indicate they wanted to have sex with the men. 

“Her saying that did bring up a lot of guilt for me, and I carried that for a long time thinking this was my fault, and that’s not fair,” Meck, who uses “they/them” pronouns, told The Post. 

Leslie McFadden.
Leslie McFadden expected a swift and thorough investigation when she reported her rape to the NYPD in October 2015.

“There needs to be more training for NYPD officers to recognize the nuances of these situations and that even when someone is working in the best interest of the victim, they still may be saying something that is traumatizing or isn’t supportive.” 

The letter says the issues the survivors faced, primarily in the NYPD’s Special Victims Division, are not “isolated” instances but part of a larger “systemic” problem that has yet to be fixed, even after a scathing Department of Investigation probe in 2018 found the department was woefully understaffed and under-trained. 

“We have learned that the NYPD currently assigns less than one percent of its force to handle all cases of sexual assault and all cases of child abuse for New York City, and that Special Victims investigators have made it clear for years that they lack adequate staff to conduct thorough sexual assault investigations,” the letter states. 

“We have learned that inexperienced ‘white shields’ (officers who are not even detectives) are assigned to the Special Victims Unit and put in charge of rape cases, and that they receive grossly inadequate training once there.” 

An NYPD rep responded with a statement saying SVD investigators “bring a victim-centric and evidence-driven approach, and work tirelessly to build the strongest possible case. 

“The NYPD is committed to ensuring that all sexual assault survivors feel the safety and support needed to come forward and help the NYPD bring them the justice they deserve,” the statement said.

“The NYPD has made major improvements to strengthen the Special Victims Division with a victim-centered approach, including a new commanding officer whose background includes forensic nursing, adding investigators to the squads, working with victim advocates to offer support and services to survivors and deepened training to amplify the Department’s ability to respond effectively to survivors, while continuing to conduct full and thorough investigations.”

Federal law gives the DOJ the authority to open sweeping “patterns-or-practices” investigations into any law-enforcement agency of its choosing, and the probes can center on issues such as racial bias and use of force, as well as alleged failures to protect. 

If systemic violations are found at the end of the investigation, the DOJ will work with the agency to ensure the issues are remedied, and if they aren’t, can file suit to secure the necessary reforms. 

Since President Biden took office, the DOJ has opened such investigations into the Minneapolis Police Department and the Louisville Metro Police Department after the police murder of George Floyd and the death of Breonna Taylor.

The DOJ did not return a request for comment asking if it plans to also open an investigation into the NYPD. 

The letters’ signers said that if the DOJ does open a probe, the feds will be sending a “message that women and survivors are fully equal human beings, entitled to equal protection.

“Experiencing sexual assault was horrific, but for many of us, the ordeal of having our cases neglected, trivialized, and discarded by the NYPD added a whole new layer of trauma that was as devastating as the crime itself. For some of us, it felt even more devastating than the crime,” the letter states. 

“We worry—more than our case detectives ever did—about the perpetrators who attacked us.  We wonder how many other people they have gone on to harm, because the NYPD failed to take action to stop them. Our ability to heal from the trauma of sexual assault was badly compromised by the NYPD’s failure to treat our assaults as if they mattered.” 

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What Time Will ‘Riverdale’ Season 6 Be on Netflix?

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The season finale of Riverdale aired in late July on The CW. Notice we said season finale? Thankfully, the beloved series will return for a seventh season, but, unfortunately, Season 7 will be the final installment of Riverdale.

If you already streamed the current season, make sure to read Alex Zalben’s interview with Riverdale showrunner Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa on Decider. If you’re waiting to binge Season 6 on Netflix, well, you better clear your calendar because all 22 episodes are about to drop on the streamer. What time will the sixth season of Riverdale debut on Netflix? What time does Netflix release shows? Here’s everything you need to know.

WHEN IS THE RIVERDALE SEASON 6 NETFLIX RELEASE DATE?

Riverdale Season 6 premieres Sunday, August 7 on Netflix.

HOW MANY EPISODES ARE IN RIVERDALE SEASON 6?

The sixth season of Riverdale consists of 22 episodes.

WHAT TIME DOES NETFLIX RELEASE NEW SHOWS?

Netflix releases new episodes at 3:00 a.m. ET/12:00 a.m. PT.

WHAT TIME WILL RIVERDALE SEASON 6 BE ON NETFLIX?

Netflix is based out of California, so Riverdale Season 6 will be available to stream at 12:00 a.m. Pacific Standard Time (3:00 a.m. Eastern Standard Time) beginning Sunday, August 7. If the clock strikes 12:00 (or 3:00 a.m. for folks on the East Coast) and you don’t see the new episodes, give it a moment, hit refresh, and then enjoy the show!

WILL THERE BE A SEASON 7 OF RIVERDALE?

Yes! Decider recently covered that very topic.

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Actress Anne Heche Suffers Severe Burns After Crashing Car Into Los Angeles Home

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Actress Anne Heche, known for her roles in such films as Donnie Brasco, Volcano and I Know What You Did Last Summer, was involved in a fiery car crash in the Mar Vista area of Los Angeles on Friday.

According to TMZ, Heche was driving a blue Mini Cooper and had first crashed into the garage of an apartment complex. Residents of the apartment complex tried to get her out of the vehicle but she backed up and sped off.

Footage of Heche speeding down the streets of her neighborhood had been obtained by TMZ as well as her initial encounter at the apartment complex.

In the first clip, you can hear her car crash towards the end. It has been reported that the actress crashed into someone’s home, causing her vehicle and the house to erupt into flames. Heche suffered severe burns and was resisting being taken away in a stretcher. You can also view footage of this via the TMZ article.

It has not been confirmed whether alcohol has been involved in the incident since her condition prevents doctors from performing any tests to determine if she was driving under the influence. She is currently intubated in the hospital but expected to live.

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These are the vulgar license-plate requests the DMV has rejected

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Stay CL4SSY, New York!

The state Department of Motor Vehicles nixed 3,752 requests for vanity license plates in the last three years because it deemed them too raunchy, radical or simply ridiculous.

New York’s personalized plates go for $60 initially, and then $31.25 annually for renewal. You can get any plate as long as no one else has it and it’s not offensive.

Odds are a request for a plate that marks a wedding anniversary or shows your allegiance to a team — like METS86 — will pass muster with the DMV gatekeepers.

Vulgarity won’t get you to first base.

So plates with the phrase LFGM — the acronym for Pete Alonso’s “Let’s F–king Go Mets” rallying cry — did not make the cut.

And you won’t see anyone driving around with the custom plates MILFDAD, AS5M4N and WLHUNG.

Crude meanings such as “MILFDAD” are unacceptable by the DMV.
Crude meanings such as “MILFDAD” are unacceptable by the DMV.
New York DMV
NYC123
New York state Department of Motor Vehicles denied more than 3.5 thousand requests for license plates deemed inappropriate.
New York DMV
“AS5M4N” was rejected for referring to “Ass man.”
“AS5M4N” was rejected for referring to “Ass man.”
New York DMV

The DMV also put NICEBUNS, FATFANNY, GOTAPOOP and BENDOVER in the rear-view mirror.

One player unsuccessfully tried to score the plate YESDADDY, to no avail.

The DMV also shot down such dark requests as DEADGIRL, GENOC1DE, S8TAN, DETONATE and MURDERM3.

“SUM8ITCH” is not allowed.
“SUM8ITCH” is not allowed.
New York DMV
The DMV thoroughly nixed a request for “CNNLIES.”
The DMV thoroughly nixed a request for “CNNLIES.”
New York DMV
BOOBIE is prohibited.
BOOBIE is prohibited.
New York DMV

Getting political is a dead end too — FJOEBIDN, FDTRUMP and CNNLIES were nixed.

LUDEDUDE, NARCO, GOT METH and BLUNT also went up in smoke.

Staten Island attorney Bill Dertinger said his blue 1995 Jaguar SJS was tagged with ESQLTD after his company and his 2014 Porsche had the plate GHOSTGTS because the sleek sportscar was white.

“The plates can make you stand out — which can be a curse or a blessing,” the 54-year-old Dertinger said. “Make sure you don’t cut anybody off.”

A man attempted to sneak in “YESDADDY” onto his license plate.
A man attempted to sneak in “YESDADDY” onto his license plate.
New York DMV
The DMV stopped a request for “FJOEBIDEN.”
The DMV stopped a request for “FJOEBIDEN.”
New York DMV
The DMV also rejects any license plates referring to politics.
The DMV also rejects any license plates referring to politics.
New York DMV

There must be a New York Jets fan playing referee at the DMV because a request for the seemingly innocent plate GASE was sidelined. Ex-Jets head coach Adam Gase had an offensive 9-23 win-loss record during his forgettable two-year tenure.

The DMV would not reveal who gives the final yea or nay.

“The DMV reviews all custom license plate requests and works hard to ensure that any combinations that may be considered objectionable are rejected,” said agency spokesman Tim O’Brien.

“GLOCKS” referring to guns is not accepted by the DMV.
“GLOCKS” referring to guns is not accepted by the DMV.
New York DMV
“FLYMOFO” is not approved by the DMV.
“FLYMOFO” is not approved by the DMV.
New York DMV

He said guidelines on what plate combinations are restricted can be found on the DMV website: https://dmv.ny.gov/learn-about-personalized-plates. Approximately 50,000 personalized and custom plates are sold per year, O’Brien said.

Bagged Tags

The state DMV has rejected 3,752 requests for custom license plates in the last three years because it deemed them potentially offensive. Here are some:

YESDADDY

FJOEBIDN

FDTRUMP

GLOCKS

FLYMOFO

BOOBIE

AS5M4N

BUDLIGHT

DEADGIRL

SUM8ITCH

GENOC1DE

S8TAN

CNNLIES

DETONATE

MURDERM3

MILFDAD

WLHUNG

Source: NYS DMV

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