Gilberto Valle, the media-branded “Cannibal Cop,” didn’t actually eat anyone. He was convicted in March 2013 of kidnapping conspiracy, but that conviction was later overturned when the judge ruled that the evidence indicated Valle’s gruesome forum posts about kidnapping, killing, and eating women were just sick fantasy. Valle could still face life in prison if prosecutors’ appeal of his overturned conviction goes through, but for now, he’s living at his mother’s house in Queens. And he’s single!
Valle is the subject of a documentary called Thought Crimes, which premiered Thursday at the Tribeca Film Festival and will air on HBO in May, that uses his case to examine the difficult-to-define line of where fantasy crosses into prosecutable reality. One of the legal experts interviewed in the film, ACLU lawyer Lee Rowland, says, “The cannibal cop case really raises the big question: What is the line between thought and action, right, between fantasy and crime? And it’s so gray.”
Valle’s wife, who testified against him, left him because he wrote about murdering her. So he’s lonely. According to the New York Times, who saw the film, it “concludes with Mr. Valle walking outdoors, saying he now can move around without being recognized, feels more comfortable outside and is thinking about dating again. (The film shows a Match.com page he apparently set up, which was later taken down.)”
The dating question is interesting. How tolerant can a woman be of a man who fantasized about committing horrible acts of violence against women, but didn’t do it, and may or may not have ever done it? What if Valle really was a loving father and husband like he says, and he just happened to be into some fucked up shit? Is it thought policing to lock someone up for imagining something so horrible?
“I’m incapable of any violence. I couldn’t hurt a fly,” Valle says in the film. This, however, is unconvincing, as he was an NYPD officer. Boom! Roasted.