A New York police officer who became known as the “Cannibal Cop” will give the public a taste of what’s really going on inside his mind. In the HBO documentary Thought Crimes, which premiered on Thursday at the Tribeca Film Festival, Gilberto Valle talks about claims that he allegedly plotted to kidnap, cook, and eat his wife and other women online. He also discusses his 2012 arrest. For those hungry to find out more about Valle and his nauseating fantasies, the film will also be shown on HBO in May.
The great and terrible thing about the Internet is the amount of anonymity anyone can have when posting. That’s one of the points Valle makes in Erin Lee Carr’s new documentary film. The former NYPD officer explains,
“When you’re behind a computer screen late at night, no one knows who you are, where you are. I became part of this cyber-community, where people are exploring deviant thoughts and exploring their fetishes.
The anonymity makes you try and outdo the other person: Who can be the sicker one? Who can be the more depraved one? The baby was sleeping. The mom was sleeping. There was just nothing to do.
And then you shut the computer off and that’s it. I go back to being the regular me. But someone might say the anonymous nature could also bring out who you really are. In my worst nightmare, I could never guess that this would have happened.”
As the NYT reported upon Valle’s 2012 arrest, the cop had put together a document on his computer that he called a blueprint for “Abducting and Cooking.” When the FBI arrested him, they made particular note of one ‘electronic communication’ between Valle and someone named as a co-conspirator, in which Valle said, “I was thinking of tying her body onto some kind of apparatus. Cook her over a low heat, keep her alive as long as possible.”
The co-conspirator in question then asked about Valle’s oven size, which Valle responded was “big enough to fit one of these girls if I folded their legs.”
The Daily Mail reports,
[pullquote]”[Valle] is seen cooking in the film but he’s only making bacon and eggs and he makes jokes about people feeling afraid when they see him with a fork.”[/pullquote]
The prosecutors who secured Valle’s initial conviction used the cop’s incredibly vivid online conversations in their case against him. But they also argued that Valle had used a law enforcement database to gather information about his would-be victims, as well as unlawful surveillance and using the Internet to research abduction and torture methods. Valle’s then-wife (who has since divorced him, thanks god) discovered chats Valle had where he discussed plans to torture and kill women—including herself—and reported him to authorities.
In June 2014, Judge Paul G. Gardephe overturned the conviction, writing: “No one was ever kidnapped, no attempted kidnapping ever took place, and no real-world, non-Internet-based steps were ever taken to kidnap anyone.”
Carr’s documentary explores the facts of the case, and also includes interviews with people involved directly with the case and various experts. ACLU lawyer Lee Rowland appears as an expert in Carr’s documentary, and summarizes the case neatly: “The cannibal cop case really raises the big question: What is the line between thought and action…between fantasy and crime? It’s so gray.”
[via the New York Times]