Domestic violence particularly difficult if abuser is an officer
The Plain Dealer, (Cleveland, OH)
Laura Johnston firstname.lastname@example.org 216-999-4115
September 14, 2007
[Excerpts] To women abused by police officers, every path seems doomed. Call the police? He is the police. Flee to a shelter? He knows where the shelter is. File a restraining order? He could retaliate. Police officers have guns and badges. They can track unlisted numbers, check license plates and stalk victims from their cruisers. Their position confers credibility. And often, women's advocates say, they're protected by a brotherhood of blue... In June, it was married Canton officer Bobby Cutts Jr., charged with murdering his girlfriend, Jessie Davis. That same month, Cleveland Clinic officer Robert Grzywaczewski shot his girlfriend dead and then killed himself. In July, Cleveland officer Rex Mehaffey shot his estranged wife, then killed himself... Often, victims don't report abuse because the prospect of reporting it to the police - to the abuser's friends and co-workers - is terrifying... The National Center for Women and Policing lists two studies placing officer domestic violence at 40 percent of police families... "A police officer's training and professional status add extra levels of sophistication to his style of psychological and physical battering," according to [Diane] Wetendorf's handbook. "In addition to his personal power, he has institutional power - the badge, the gun and the support of the police department - and he constantly threatens to use them all against you." If victims call 9-1-1, they fear the responding officers may honor the department's camaraderie and side with their buddy, [Diane] Wetendorf says. Even if the department investigates, if an officer is convicted of domestic violence, is fired and banned from carrying a gun, the violence could continue. "Taking away his badge and gun doesn't take away their training, and it doesn't take away their knowledge," Wetendorf said. "And it doesn't necessarily take away their personal connections"...
I thought this would be a great time to publish excerpts from what I believe to be the last article I could find from Ohio on the TOPIC of officer-involved domestic violence - from 1998. (My how time flies as people there continue to die in cop relationships!) And it becomes obvious that no one has done any new studies since then. Same figures from the same studies - 9 years earlier - are cited in both articles. Not much of a priority it seems. We need a comprehensive new study - one that asks the right questions, not just the safe ones.
VIOLENCE AND THE SHIELD
DOMESTIC ABUSE BY POLICE IS TRAGEDY ON AND OFF THE JOB
The Plain Dealer, (Cleveland, OH)
October 6, 1998
[Excerpts] The prospect of a police officer beating his wife by night while having to respond to a woman's call for protection from an abusive boyfriend by day might be hard to imagine. But it happens. More often than one might think. Although experts say the full extent of the problem is not yet known, in two studies a staggering 40 percent of police officers admitted they had used some kind of violence in their homes... Leanore Boulin Johnson, a sociology professor at Arizona State University, surveyed 728 officers asking if they had ever lost control and behaved violently toward their spouses. Forty percent answered yes... "I found that violence is more acceptable because officers are so exposed to it. We found the more they are exposed ... the more likely they are to behave violently toward their spouse. The other factor is what I call `authoritarian spillover,' difficulty turning off the police role at home.' Another study, published in Police Studies, an academic journal, surveyed 425 officers who were asked if they used violence - defined as anything from shoving to using a gun - with their spouse or children in the previous year. Again, about 40 percent responded affirmatively... Between 1993 and 1996, John Feltgen, police chief in Weston, Fla., surveyed close to 100 agencies around the country for the International Association of Chiefs of Police... Feltgen came to a disturbing conclusion: "Traditionally, officers do protect one another, they try and help one another out. They always looked the other way when called to a domestic violence incident involving another officer, and rarely write the incident as a report or, if they do, they write it up as an 'unfounded disturbance'... "A police wife [who is being abused] is really in a bad position," said Lorain Police Chief Celestino Rivera, who heads an all-male department of 111 officers. If the wife calls police, "she will lose not only her financial support, but she's dealing with a person whose whole being is wrapped up in being a cop and he's lost that... Somehow we need to get the word out to police spouses that the department will enforce the law, and protect them. All she's hearing is her partner saying, 'Those are my buddies, nobody's going to do anything'... We need to send a message that if you're having those problems, you can come to us confidentially, we'll help you get the help you need. We do that - but not until it reaches a crisis."
Because the 2007 article has been taken offline I am posting the full article here. It's so good it just can't be lost.
Domestic violence particularly difficult if abuser is an officer
The Plain Dealer, (Cleveland, OH)
Laura Johnston email@example.com
September 14, 2007
To women abused by police officers, every path seems doomed.
Call the police? He is the police.
Flee to a shelter? He knows where the shelter is.
File a restraining order? He could retaliate.
Police officers have guns and badges. They can track unlisted numbers, check license plates and stalk victims from their cruisers. Their position confers credibility. And often, women's advocates say, they're protected by a brotherhood of blue.
"They make you think you can't do anything about it," said Donzella Malone, author of a book about her friend, Akron doctor Margo Prade. In 1997, Prade's ex-husband, a police captain, murdered her.
"That's how they hold them hostage," Malone said.
The women's predicament is customarily unseen.
But in recent months, Northeast Ohio has seen three highly publicized cases in which police officers were accused of murdering - or trying to murder - their significant others.
In June, it was married Canton officer Bobby Cutts Jr., charged with murdering his girlfriend, Jessie Davis. That same month, Cleveland Clinic officer Robert Grzywaczewski shot his girlfriend dead and then killed himself.
In July, Cleveland officer Rex Mehaffey shot his estranged wife, then killed himself.
The International Association of Chiefs of Police estimates that officers are involved in domestic violence as least as often as everyone else, which is more than 10 percent of Americans, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The National Center for Women and Policing lists two studies placing officer domestic violence at 40 percent of police families.
That's not to say that every police officer is a batterer. But victims of domestic violence by police officers are still as isolated and invisible as all victims of domestic violence were three decades ago, according to Diane Wetendorf, author of a victims handbook on police domestic violence.
A brutal crime no one would suspect
"It's kind of a dirty little secret," said Dottie Davis, deputy chief of the Fort Wayne, Ind., Police Department. "It's a very ethical and professional organization. However, there are people who can fool background investigators and psychologists who do hiring."
In the Fort Wayne department, Davis said, about 1 percent of law enforcement couples report domestic violence. Most likely, she said, many more never tell.
Margo Prade never complained of abuse, her friend Malone said. Her ex-husband, Douglas, never hit her before he shot her five or six times in her minivan in November 1997.
The Prades - she was 41 and he was a decade older and a 30-year department veteran - were married 17 years before they divorced.
Douglas Prade cheated on his wife. He taunted her about her weight and routinely screamed at her, Malone said. After the couple divorced, he spied on her, taped her telephone conversations, threatened her and refused to move out.
"He wasn't going away," Malone said. "It was control."
Police-involved domestic violence isn't new, Wetendorf said. But because victims rarely report the crimes or testify, it's tough to quantify.
Often, victims don't report abuse because the prospect of reporting it to the police - to the abuser's friends and co-workers - is terrifying.
"A police officer's training and professional status add extra levels of sophistication to his style of psychological and physical battering," according to Wetendorf's handbook. "In addition to his personal power, he has institutional power - the badge, the gun and the support of the police department - and he constantly threatens to use them all against you."
If victims call 9-1-1, they fear the responding officers may honor the department's camaraderie and side with their buddy, Wetendorf says. Even if the department investigates, if an officer is convicted of domestic violence, is fired and banned from carrying a gun, the violence could continue.
"Taking away his badge and gun doesn't take away their training, and it doesn't take away their knowledge," Wetendorf said. "And it doesn't necessarily take away their personal connections."
Police now craft abuse policies
Police have discussed the conundrum of officer-involved domestic violence since the 1980s. Model policies were created in the late 1990s, Davis said.
"It happens and we need to deal with it," said Randy Carroll, chief of the Bellingham, Wash., police, which, like departments across that state, enforces a domestic-violence policy.
In Washington in 2003, Tacoma Police Chief David Brame shot and killed his wife, Crystal, in a mall parking lot in front of his two children, then fatally shot himself. A state law passed the next year requires law enforcement to work with victim advocates to develop officer-involved domestic violence policies.
Like Bellingham, Akron police have policies that address cops involved in domestic violence. They've also trained with Wetendorf.
The policy mandates sending the Domestic Response Unit to all domestic incidents involving Akron officers to ensure that "all domestic incidents involving active members of the Akron Police Department are investigated in an equitable and unbiased manner."
Since the unit was founded in 2002, its 16 members have investigated 52 domestic incidents, 20 of which were classified as domestic violence, said Capt. Daniel Zampelli. The department has about 450 officers.
"As best we can, we try to stay blind to the individual and look at the facts of the case," Zampelli said.
Neighboring Cuyahoga Falls, which has seen two recent cases of officer-involved domestic violence, doesn't have a policy specifically to deal with the issue - simply because it hadn't happened before, Chief John Conley said.
"In my 21 years . . . this is the first time this has come up," Conley said.
Parma, too, has not had to address the situation of officers involved in domestic violence, spokesman Marty Compton said. If an officer were accused, he said, he would probably be placed on leave.
In the last 25 years, at least 10 Cleveland officers have been investigated for domestic violence and several were suspended, records show.
The department requires that for emergency calls involving officers and domestic violence, an officer ranked higher than the officer in question must respond, along with someone from internal affairs, said Lt. Thomas Stacho, a Cleveland police spokesman. If internal affairs finds probable cause, criminal charges and administrative charges would be filed.
"Basically, our policy is that . . . we enforce the law against police officers the way we're expected to enforce the law against every other citizen," Stacho said.
Having internal affairs - which answers directly to the chief of police - investigate eliminates conflict, he said.
In an ideal world, say Wetendorf and Davis, police agencies would avoid hiring potentially abusive officers through prehiring screenings and background checks. And the culture would change.
"Until we admit that we are capable of committing acts of domestic violence even as police officers, we cannot address the root of the problem," said Bellingham's Chief Carroll. "Until we find a way, a different way of socializing our male children, we will be dealing with male aggression to women in society."
Until then, Wetendorf said, victims of police violence must regain trust in their own intuition. They must tell someone. They must take steps to protect their lives.
They must find a way out of the maze.
Plain Dealer reporter Gabriel Baird contributed to this story. To reach this Plain Dealer reporter: firstname.lastname@example.org, 216-999-4115
Police Officer Involved Domestic Violence. Lighting a candle of remembrance for those who've lost their lives to domestic violence behind the blue wall, for strength and wisdom to those still there, and a non-ending prayer for those who thought they had escaped but can't stop being afraid.
CLICK HERE: Keeping this display of officer-involved domestic violence fatalities on top from now on...
Officer-Involved Domestic Fatalities - 1 Officer-Involved Domestic Fatalities - 2 [WA] Tragedy Will Occur If They Don't Have ...
Saturday, September 15, 2007
[OH] "Domestic violence particularly difficult if abuser is an officer"
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Domestic violence in blueReplyDelete
Posted by Plain Dealer staff September 13, 2007 17:58PM
Recent high-profile cases of police-involved domestic violence:
Bobby Cutts Jr. was hired by onto the Canton force in 2001, despite a no-contest plea to disorderly conduct in 1998 when he kicked down the door
to his girlfriend's house. He's now charged with murdering another girlfriend, Jessie Davis.
Lorain Patrolman Corey Earl was charged Sept. 1 with violating a civil order protecting his estranged wife. She had sought the order after Earl, the president of the local police union, showed up at 3 a.m. Aug. 20 at her Amherst home, threatening suicide.
Cuyahoga Falls officer Ralph Flynn, 37, was charged in January 2005 in Norton with domestic violence after fighting with his live-in girlfriend about when he would get a divorce. The woman claimed Flynn pushed her into the closet and hit her in the face and arm. Cuyahoga Falls Chief John Conley recommended Flynn be suspended for 10 days and undergo anger management counseling. Flynn refused and was fired. He pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct. He was rehired, without punishment, after an arbitrator sustained a union-filed grievance. Then, in June, the 10-year veteran was charged with two counts of domestic violence, accused of for hitting his 12-year-old daughter and twisting his 10-year-old daughter's arm. He was granted a leave of absence without pay until the case is resolved.
In June, Cleveland Clinic officer Robert Grzywaczewski killed his girlfriend and himself after a struggle in their Parma home.
Akron Detective Tom Hazen, 54, was charged in October 2006 with domestic violence, menacing and violation of a temporary protective order after a woman complained he had thrown her over a chair, slapped her and told her he would "beat her to a pulp and put her in the hospital." He pleaded guilty to violating the order and received a suspended sentence in Akron Municipal Court. The department disciplined him by forfeiting 24 hours he had worked.
Akron officer Leslie Jones, 42, was arrested in February on domestic violence and four other charges. The 15-year veteran resigned six days later and pleaded guilty in May to criminal mischief, falsification and obstructing official business, all misdemeanors. On July 1, he was charged with domestic violence, accused of for hitting his girlfriend in the face after she told him she wanted to break up. Two weeks later, he was charged with violating a protection order when Akron officers found him hiding in the woman's basement under a blanket and a large pile of clothes. He pleaded guilty July 20 to reduced charges in Akron Municipal Court.
Cuyahoga Falls officer Jeffrey Meek, 44, was charged in October 2006 with domestic violence and felonious assault, as well as menacing and aggravated trespass, accused of for fracturing his live-in girlfriend's right eye socket. Meek, a 14-year department veteran, also was charged with disorderly conduct in an incident in July 2006, when he went to his girlfriend's sister's house, drunk and angry and looking for his girlfriend. While the case was investigated, Meek worked administrative duties in the department. He pleaded guilty to attempted felonious assault, domestic violence and disorderly conduct and was sentenced in June to six months in jail. He resigned a day later.
In July, 20-year Cleveland Patrolman Rex Mehaffey, 46, shot his estranged wife in the head and torso as he chased her car on Cleveland's West Side. He then killed himself. His wife had gotten a restraining order against him, and the two were in the midst of a nasty divorce.
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To anonymous - please don't post whole articles. My whole archive of hundreds of photos was deleted from Flickr from misuse - and we are not supposed to use whole articles on the blogs... Grab a third of it and call it excperts please so this blog doesn't get deleted. (I'd be sad.)ReplyDelete
I don't know if it will be accepted or not, but I left this as a comment on the article "Domestic violence in blue":
A very incomplete short list of other recent Ohio cases not mentioned above:
Deputy's rage wasn't first incident
August 17, 2007
Randy Koon was a rugged Marine and top-rated Hamilton County sheriff's deputy. Now, he's known as the man accused of shooting at his girlfriend as she desperately tried to drive away from his abuse...
Former Toledo FBI chief is jailed
September 12, 2007
The former special agent in charge [yet still an agent] of the Toledo FBI office is being held in a Virginia jail on charges that he held a woman against her will for more than five hours... Carl Lee Spicocchi...
Ex-wife of slain Trotwood officer indicted
Nicole Ballenger faces three counts of murder, while another cop's wife faces separate charges.
Dayton Daily News
Friday, September 07, 2007
A Montgomery County grand jury on Thursday indicted the ex-wife of a slain Trotwood police officer on a charge of murder. Nicole Andriette Ballenger was indicted on three counts of murder and two counts of felonious assault in the April 19 shooting of Cedric A. Ballenger. Also Thursday, a County Common Pleas judge set a $500,000 bond for another woman accused of shooting her estranged husband, also a Trotwood police officer, on Aug. 26... Denae Barnett-Dexter, 34, was indicted Tuesday on three counts of felonious assault. She is accused of shooting Troy Dexter...
Salem officer put on paid leave
September 8, 2007
A city police officer has been placed on paid leave because of an allegation that he threatened his stepchild with a gun. Officer Richard Kimble II...
NK cop bound for jail
Nathan Houser gets 30 days, can’t carry gun
Ashtabula Star-Beacon, OH
Aug 30, 2007
A North Kingsville police officer will spend 30 days in jail for his role in a fight inside a local restaurant late last year... Nathan Houser...“Your behavior makes me sick, absolutely sick... I’m extraordinarily unhappy with you and your behavior.”... While attempting to separate the men, Paula Houser said she was punched in the face and knocked to the floor by her husband...
Village police officer fired
Athens Messenger, OH
A village police officer has been fired... officer Robert M. Stoica... "Chief Taylor advised Chief McCoy and Sgt. Wells that an officer he had removed from his department, Robert M. Stoica, was a concern to him since his removal... because Mr. Stoica's former girlfriend, Amy Woods, was currently living in the village of South Bloomfield, and Chief Taylor was concerned for Ms. Woods..."
Jackson Township officer jailed on domestic violence charge
The Canton Repository
August 29, 2007
A township police officer is expected to be in court this morning after being charged with domestic violence. Officer Eric Martzolf... "He was involved in a domestic situation at his wife’s place of employment"...
You might want to run Bobby Cutts as a search term on my blawg.ReplyDelete
Just sent you an email too as a former Clevelander.
You might also want to check into Bruce McKay's situation here in New Hampshire, just repugnant to the sensibilities of Justice. Remember the shooting from 5/11 last year? Well as a former Ohio AAG and law clerk for Cleveland's own Terry Gilbert, I knew that there was much more going on.
Town of Franconia and NH AG Kelly Ayotte both busted by the Court in my Right-to-Know litigation and the worst part is that the AG.... is a WOMAN!!!
Stay strong, sister.
Christopher King, J.D.
On behalf of KingCast.net
On behalf of Justiceforkids.net
Thanks for the links.ReplyDelete
(Run Cutts through the search here on the blog and you'll feel me.)
I'm about to.
Meanwhile I had to holler at the Feds regarding that other charming man of the North Country who threatened a school administrator with:
"Lady I know where you live and the route you take home and if you're not careful they're going to send you home in a body bag."