I probably don't need to tell you that this summer there were nearly twenty separate sexual assaults on women in Park Slope and nearby neighborhoods -- likely by multiple perpetrators -- and the police still haven't caught the motherfucking predators. They did, however, railroad an innocent Colombian immigrant named William Giraldo, who's since been exonerated by DNA evidence (not to mention alibis that could have checked out long before he was charged). He's now speaking out about how his life has been ruined.
After a sexual attack in Sunset Park, the police released a surveillance video that showed Giraldo inside the same Dunkin' Donuts that the victim was in shortly before she was attacked.
When Giraldo realized that police were looking for him, he did the stand-up thing and went to the cops so that he could explain that there was some misunderstanding and that he wasn't their guy. He told them that just after getting coffee he took a fare to JFK. He gave them DNA. He stood in a line-up and was not identified by the Sunset Park victim or any of the other women also attacked around the same time. He wanted to clear his name, and he thought that by cooperating with the police and giving them whatever information he could, he was doing the right thing.
Instead of questioning and releasing him, the cops arrested him, just hours before he was set to marry his fiancée. They interrogated Giraldo for hours on end without an attorney, and threatened to deport him. They also publicized, to a borough desperate for some action on the string of crimes, that they'd made an arrest. The police put his name out there and pat themselves on the back for making the arrest.
Meanwhile, Giraldo sat in a cell on Riker's Island for a month and a half crying (and for fuck's sake, wouldn't you?).
"I had a small window in the cell I was in I thought I was never going to see the street again," he recently told ABC local. "It was terrifying."
Finally, DNA results proved what he'd been saying all along: that he wasn't the rapist.
Giraldo says that the arrest ruined his life. He's having trouble finding work because when you type his name into The Google Machine, you get links to a shit-ton of articles about his arrest, but not about his exoneration. On top of that, he's clearly been through fucking hell with the NYPD.
This whole thing is like a big fucked up onion made out of shit where the onion should be; when you peel back one layer of shit, there's always another shit layer beneath it. Shit, shit, shit. Women have been raped and assaulted. The cops tell them that if they dressed differently, they might not get raped so much. Then, when a good guy comes forward to try to be helpful and do the right thing, the cops don't wait to see if he's the right guy before they splash his all over the place. Meanwhile, violent sexual predators are still walking around with impunity.
Maybe now that the weather's turned colder, we're having a brief respite from the horrible string of attacks from the summer. But if the police think that we're going to let this all go, they're sadly mistaken. I hope I speak for all of Brooklyn when I say this to the NYPD: we want you to catch the real perpetrators, and we're not going to be placated by a hasty and well-publicized arrest of an innocent bystander. The next time you boast that you've caught a rapist, it better fucking be the right guy, and you'd better fucking have the evidence to make the charges stick.
And to anyone out there who's willing to give William Giraldo a job, let me know when you've hired him, because you'll have a customer for life.