After a jury announced in late May that two New York City police officers were not guilty of raping a drunk woman they escorted home, New Yorkers took to the streets in protest, confounded at how a jury could find that that Kenneth Moreno and Franklin Mata hadn't committed the grievous crime. On Thursday, one juror's account of the trial and the decision-making process in the jury room went up for sale through Gothamist as a long-form, non-fiction e-book. In the hours since it published, it's made quite a splash in the same circles that so hotly debated the trial's outcome -- in particular the feminist and New York news blogs.
Patrick Kirkland, the e-book's author and an advertising copywriter who lives on the Upper West Side, teased the account on his blog way back in June. "I cut off friends, family, and the outside world for these people, and hermitted myself at my desk for the simple ability to write it down. Life happened. To me. A writer. What else was I supposed to do? Talk about it? I think not." Kirkland promised to post his account on his own blog if he couldn't find a publisher. Now that he's found one, the response has been mixed. On Twitter, The Daily copy editor Derek Rose tweeted that the piece was "well worth the $2" and tech theorist Semantic Will said it was a "fucking horrible title, great read." At The Awl, Choire Sicha wrote:
It's a fascinating read, and I mean that in a very honest sense. In large part it's about how unbelievably important jury service is in America, and about how we treat those accused of crimes. Whether you like the verdict or not, or whether you like the case presented by prosecutors or not (SIGH), this view into the thinking and process of the jurors is really valuable. It also may upset you!
But as you might expect, some reactions have been less nuanced and far less positive. Feminist organizer Shelby Knox tweeted that the publication "feels... icky." Maddow producer and blogger Jamil Smith tweeted, "Hey, NYPD Rape Cop Juror Dude who thinks the cop and the victim "hit it off": sleeping women can't provide consent." Jezebel's Irin Carmon expanded on the notion of possible misunderstood consent, based on this passage from Kirkland: "What if the two became close? What if they hit it off, somewhere between the taxicab and the dead roach? A moment that turned into conversation, that turned into flirting? What if it all led to something that Moreno thought was consensual?" Carmon responds:
There's a reason Moreno never even tried to argue that there was consensual sex — in the absence of DNA evidence that any took place, despite the fact that he says he cradled her while she was wearing nothing but a bra and no evidence of that remains — he didn't have to.