By LAURA ITALIANO / New York Post of April 12, 2011
Jurors yesterday heard the most incriminating audio evidence in the so-called “Rape Cops” trial — what prosecutors say is one of the officers pretending to be a Canadian tourist while using an East Village pay phone to make a bogus 911 call about a “smelly” homeless man.
Accused rapist Officer Kenneth Moreno and accused lookout Officer Franklin Mata allegedly faked the call to buy themselves more time to make their second of four trips to a drunken woman’s apartment on an early morning in December 2008.
There, the victim has told prosecutors, she passed out facedown on her bed, only to be awakened by the Velcro-rip sound of Moreno removing his bulletproof vest before raping her.
“There’s a homeless guy . . . just sleeping there in the hallway,” the caller, who gives his name as “John Edwards,” says on the damaging 911 tape, his voice sounding more Northern Manhattan than Great White North.
“He smells really bad,” the caller says, going on to say, “He’s a homeless guy. You know, he didn’t bother anybody but, he’s like, right in the front door.”
Moreno and Mata would tell their bosses they spent from 2 to 2:30 a.m. dealing with the “smelly” nuisance who was supposedly sleeping in the foyer of a building at East 13th Street and First Avenue.
But for most of that half-hour, prosecutors say, the officers were actually a couple of doors down, in the apartment of the victim, a then-28-year-old fashion exec who’d been so drunk that her cabby had called for the cops’ assistance to get her out of the taxi.
The 911 call was made from a pay phone at that corner — precisely where the two officers claimed they were wrapping up a two-car fender bender, according to the official dispatch records.
“He’s sleeping, yeah,” the caller says. “He’s just in the hallway.” When the dispatcher asks, “And you want the police to do what?” the supposed Canadian answers, “To get him out before my girlfriend comes outside . . . I just don’t want her to get — to deal with it.”
When the dispatcher asks, “What’s your phone number?” there is a slight pause. Then “John” answers, “I’m actually from Canada, so I don’t have one.”
So intent were Moreno and Mata to “respond” to the homeless-man call that they can be heard on radio-dispatch tapes urgently shooing away another patrol car that was available to take it off their hands.
“Central!” Mata’s voice says on the tape, addressing NYPD central dispatch. “Don’t. Disregard, Central. We got it,” he says, then repeats, “We got it.”