A Latina In Maryland Believes She Was Raped By This Police Officer Because Of Her Undocumented Status, Others Are Saying She Was Targeted Because She Was Alone

credit: Prince George’s County Police Department

A Maryland police officer was arrested last Monday and charged with raping an undocumented Latina during a traffic stop.

According to a news release from the Prince George’s County Police Department, Ryan Macklin, a six-year veteran of the division, pulled the woman over at about 1 a.m. on Oct. 11.

The woman alleges that the officer attempted to touch her breasts before telling her to pull behind a store in Langley Park, where he forced her to perform oral sex on him. The assault was interrupted when a witness, who the woman had called earlier, arrived at the scene. Macklin returned to his cruiser and drove away.

The woman’s accounts have been corroborated by the witness as well as video evidence.

CASA, a Maryland-based immigrant advocacy group, said the woman believes she was targeted because of her immigration status.

“This is a man in power who thought that because she was undocumented, he was going to get away with it,” Ingrid Zelaya-Ascencio, a spokesperson for CASA, told NBC News.

Unauthorized immigrants in Maryland are able to receive driver’s licenses by confirming their identity and proving Maryland residency, among other criteria. On these special licenses read the phrase “not acceptable for federal purposes.” The woman, who says she was attacked after the officer asked for her ID, believes he took advantage of her because her identification signaled she was living in the U.S. illegally.

“He knew that she was undocumented and after she handed over her ID, that’s when everything started, so she does believe and we believe too, that’s why she was targeted,” Zelaya-Ascencio added.

The Prince George’s County Police Department, however, don’t think the woman was targeted because of her status but rather because she was driving alone. Jennifer Donelan, director of media relations for the department, said other women have made similar allegations against Macklin and they were all “females driving by themselves.”

“Others have reached out to us, they are not Latina. They are American citizens of different races,” Donelan, who added that she did not want the alleged assault to “create fear in a community that is already fearful.”

The woman, initially uncertain to involve authorities, made a crime report after friends encouraged her “several hours” following the event.

According to a report released by the ACLU in May, fear of deportation, heightened under the Trump administration, is preventing undocumented crime victims from making reports and participating in court proceedings. More than 50 percent of law enforcement surveyed in the report said that offenses were more difficult to investigate because survivors were too scared to work with them.

Police Chief Hank Stawinski said he hopes his team’s handling of the alleged assault quells the fears of undocumented immigrants who are afraid to interact with officers.

“It may stimulate concerns particularly within the Latino community, but my hope is that this will further the efforts that we’ve made over the last decade to make clear that we enforce the law and protect people in Prince George’s County, we do not enforce immigration law,” Stawinski said.

Macklin, 29, has been charged with first-degree rape, second-degree rape, perverted practice, second-degree assault and fourth-degree sex offense in addition to being suspended without pay. He is currently being held on no bond at the Prince George Corrections Department.

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