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Thursday, May 21, 2009

[PA] "Police do not have a constitutional obligation to protect an officer's wife..."


IS THIS REALLY HOW WE LEAVE THIS? NOTHING HAS CHANGED FOR JILL BURELLA, SO NOTHING HAS CHANGED FOR ANY OFFICER'S SPOUSE:

"Police do not have a constitutional obligation to protect an officer's wife from her husband's abuse..."


Previous post:

[PA] U.S. Appeals Court: Jill had no right to protection from cop husband
- Jill Burella did not have a constitutional right to police protection from her husband's abuse, according to a decision by a three-judge panel of the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals... The panel, citing U.S. Supreme Court precedent, said in part that state employees have qualified immunity from alleged failures to act...

In chronological order:

PHILA. OFFICER KILLED, WIFE HURT IN DISPUTE
OFFICER GEORGE BURRELLA WAS SHOT ONCE, AND HIS WIFE SEVERAL TIMES. POLICE SAID IT APPARENTLY WAS "A DOMESTIC SITUATION."
The Philadelphia Inquirer, (PA)
Robert Moran
Wednesday, January 13, 1999
A shooting inside a Somerton home yesterday afternoon left an off-duty city police officer dead and his wife seriously wounded. Police responded to a report of a shooting in the 600 block of Poquessing Avenue shortly after 2 p.m. and found George Burella, 35, on the floor of his foyer dead from a gunshot wound, said Capt. James Brady of the Homicide Division. Brady said police found his wife, Jill Burella, 33, lying next to her husband, suffering several gunshot wounds to the upper body. The gun was found at the scene, Brady said, but he declined to give more details... "We believe it to be a domestic situation," Brady said of the shooting... If George Burella's death is ruled a suicide, it would be the second connected to the city's police department in less than a week... [LINK]

COP SHOOTS WIFE, SELF OFFICER DEAD
Philadelphia Daily News (PA)
Nicole Weisensee
Wednesday, January 13, 1999
...Police had been called to the scene at 2:16 p.m. in response to several 911 calls, possibly including one from Jill Burella . She was found holding a phone when police arrived. She was taken to Holy Redeemer Hospital, then by helicopter to the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania. She was in critical condition, but after surgery her condition was upgraded to serious... Homicide Capt. James Brady said, "There was an ongoing domestic discord in the situation. We're still trying to sort out exactly what happened"... Jill Burella had obtained a restraining order against her husband [Philadelphia Police Officer George Burella] and was "happy and optimistic" about the situation, said Michele Leatherman, who said she had become friends with Jill about eight months ago. She said Jill had told her that her husband beat her frequently and once put a pistol barrel in her mouth... Then on Sunday, she said, Jill called her and told her about the restraining order and that there would be no more violence... Burella 's fellow officers in the 19th District in West Philadelphia said they were too upset by the incident to talk about it. [LINK]

GUN RULE FOR POLICE OFFICERS TIGHTENED
ANY OFFICER UNDER A PROTECTION-FROM-ABUSE ORDER MUST GIVE UP HIS SIDEARM, COMMISSIONER TIMONEY SAYS.
The Philadelphia Inquirer, (PA)
Robert Moran
Friday, January 15, 1999
Two days after an off-duty officer who had allegedly abused his wife shot her and then killed himself, Police Commissioner John F. Timoney ordered yesterday that department-issued sidearms be taken from any officer who is the subject of a protection-from-abuse order... "Right now, its pretty much of an honor system" Timoney said... [LINK]

PROTECTION ORDER WOULD DISARM COPS DOMESTIC-VIOLENCE DIRECTIVE ANNOUNCED
Philadelphia Daily News (PA)
Tonya Pendleton pendlet@phillynews.com
Friday, January 15, 1999
...[Police Commissioner John] Timoney said he had been preparing an eight-page directive to all officers on the subject of domestic violence before the Burella case, but it was delayed by a printing backup... "We've been reviewing officers to see if there are officers out there who aren't fit to carry guns," Timoney said... [LINK]

OFFICER'S WIFE SUES CITY OVER ATTACK
JILL BURELLA SAYS POLICE KNEW OF GEORGE BURELLA'S VIOLENT HISTORY BUT FAILED TO TAKE ACTION TO PROTECT HER.
The Philadelphia Inquirer, (PA)
Robert Moran
Thursday, February 17, 2000
The wife of a Philadelphia police officer who shot her and then killed himself has sued the city, alleging that the Police Department knew her husband had a history of violence and mental problems but repeatedly failed to take action to protect her. Jill Burella filed the complaint in Common Pleas Court last week, 13 months after George Burella, 35, shot her in the chest at their Somerton home and then turned the gun on himself. Just days before the shooting, she had obtained a protection-from-abuse order... Jill Burella, 35, alleges in her complaint that her husband beat her for several years, leading to numerous 911 calls for help. "On each such occasion, [police] refused to arrest, discipline, supervise, or otherwise address the situation," the complaint states... Jill Burella 's three children are listed as plaintiffs... [LINK]

JILL BURELLA, individually and as parent and guardian of BETH ANN BURELLA, DANIELLE BURELLA, and NICHOLAS BURELLA v. CITY OF PHILADELPHIA; ROBERT REAMER
United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit
September 13, 2007
This appeal concerns whether the police officers had a constitutional obligation to protect Jill Burella from her husband's abuse. Despite our grave concerns about the Philadelphia Police Department's alleged conduct in this case, we hold that the officers did not have such an obligation... [LINK]

Court: Police guarded by immunity in abuse case
Philadelphia Inquirer,
By Kathleen Brady Shea
610-701-7625 or kbrady@phillynews.com

Fri, Sep. 14, 2007
Despite the "unquestionably tragic" failure of Philadelphia police to protect the wife of a colleague from long-standing violence that ended when he shot her and killed himself, a federal appeals court ruled yesterday that the officers have immunity. The 34-page opinion, which reversed a lower-court order, was the latest development in a civil suit filed by Jill Burella. She was married to George Burella, a 10-year veteran of the Philadelphia force when he shot her in the chest and then killed himself on Jan. 12, 1999... ...the city was gratified that the court backed the city's legal analysis... In the suit, originally filed in February 2000, Jill Burella alleged that the Police Department knew her husband had a history of violence and mental problems but consistently failed to take action to protect her... According to the suit, George Burella was twice hospitalized for psychiatric treatment, once after a suicide attempt; was suspended without pay from the police force twice for incidents not related to his wife; and repeatedly violated protection-from-abuse orders, at least twice in the presence of other officers. Four days before the shooting at the family's Somerton home, Jill Burella had obtained a third - and final - protection-from-abuse order, the opinion said. The shooting prompted then-Police Commissioner John F. Timoney to revise department policy by requiring that police-issued sidearms be taken from any officer who is the subject of a protection order. Timoney said then that his policy change would not have prevented the incident, noting that George Burella had used a privately owned gun.
[LINK]

Court - Police not obligated to protect abusive officers wife
ASSOCIATED PRESS
Philadelphia Inquirer, PA
By MARYCLAIRE DALE
Despite "grave concerns" about the alleged failure of police to arrest an abusive officer who later shot his wife, a federal appeals court ruled Thursday that she cannot seek damages from the officers. Jill Burella did not have a constitutional right to police protection from her husband's abuse, according to a decision by a three-judge panel of the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. The ruling overturned a lower court's decision. The panel, citing U.S. Supreme Court precedent, said in part that state employees have qualified immunity from alleged failures to act, even if they can be sued for overt actions that cause harm... "Although the Philadelphia Police Department's apparent disregard of Jill Burella's numerous pleas for help raises a serious question as to whether this was but one example of a larger pattern of mishandling domestic violence complaints, we cannot agree that the factual allegations and evidence... satisfy the requirements" for relief, the court said. Jill Burella had obtained several protection orders during the several years of physical and emotional abuse that she says preceded the shooting. Her husband first attempted suicide and was convicted of stalking her in 1996, according to court papers. In one incident from 1998, Jill Burella called the department's Internal Affairs Division to report being abused, a call that led to her husband being assigned a peer counselor. Another time, suburban officers who arrested Burella for allegedly assaulting his wife in Bucks County released him to his department supervisor, a captain who escorted him home, the ruling said... [LINK]
3rd Circuit: POLICE HAVEN'T DUTY TO PROTECT OFFICER'S WIFE
Washington Crime News Service
Crime Control Digest
Sep 28, 2007
Police do not have a constitutional obligation to protect an officer's wife from her husband's abuse... The wife in a civil rights lawsuit alleged Philadelphia police officers knew about the abuse, but nevertheless failed to act, thereby violating her due process and equal protection rights... the officers' failure to arrest her husband, or to handle her complaints more competently, did not violate her constitutional right to due process or equal protection of the law. [LINK]
[police officer involved domestic violence oidv intimate partner violence (IPV) abuse law enforcement public safety fatality fatalities suicide policy legislation justice injustice pennsylvania state]

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