Thursday, May 24, 2018

Police Officer-Involved Domestic Violence in the News: From the Police Wife Blog (UPDATED)

A selection of news about incidents involving allegations of police officer-involved domestic violence and related issues from the Police Wife blog. All accused are presumed innocent until proven guilty. 

I'll update this post with new items as they come in. Please send in other news of interest. Also see my previous post with news from Nov. 2017 to May 2018 and my earlier post with news up to Nov. 2017.

UW-Oshkosh police officer intentionally shoots self in torso during argument with wife

(The Fond du Lac Reporter) September 25, 2018, North Fond du Lac, Wisconsin—A University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh police officer intentionally shot himself Sunday with his department-issued gun, authorities said.

Dennis Sabel, 52, was arguing with his wife at his North Fond du Lac home and “intentionally fired one round into his torso,” said Ryan Waldschmidt, the Fond du Lac County Sheriff’s Office chief deputy.... Read the full article here.


Deputy's wife texted 'Kirk has lost his mind' before murder-suicide, friend says

(The Tampa Bay TimesSeptember 24, 2018, Land O'Lakes, Florida—Samantha Keithley sent a series of disturbing text messages late Sunday, complaining about her husband to a longtime friend.

“Kirk has lost his mind Kristin,” she wrote in one text to friend Kristin Kellin. “He’s literally losing it. He’s been harassing me for the last 6 hours and I’ve asked him repeatedly to just leave me alone because I’m sick.”... Read the full article here.


‘Life-and-death consequences’: How police fail domestic abuse victims

(City Press) September 11, 2018, Johannesburg, South Africa—For the past three reporting periods between 2016 and March 2018, not a single police station visited by the SA [South Africa] Police Service’s Civilian Secretariat has fully complied with the Domestic Violence Act.

In terms of this Act, the SAPS must report biannually to Parliament on complaints received against police officers who don’t properly implement the Act and the steps taken against them.... Read the full article here.


Skowhegan police detective sergeant arrested on domestic violence charge
Detective sergeant turned himself in Thursday, police chief says

(WMTW) September 7, 2018, Skowhegan, Maine—A detective sergeant with the Skowhegan Police Department was arrested Thursday on a warrant for domestic violence assault, Skowhegan Police Chief David Bucknam said.

Detective Sgt. Don Avery turned himself in at the Somerset County Correctional Facility, Bucknam said.... Read the full article here.


Calgary police union VP ordered to take domestic violence counselling as assault charge withdrawn
Mike Baker was charged after police were called to his home in response to a domestic incident

(CBC) September 7, 2018, Calgary, Alberta, Canada—An assault charge has been withdrawn against Calgary Police Association vice-president Mike Baker, who instead entered into a peace bond on Friday.

Baker was charged after police were called to his home in May in response to a domestic incident complaint.... Read the full article here.


Police: Off-duty Portland police sergeant arrested for domestic violence

(FOX 12) September 7, 2018, Ridgefield, Washington—An off-duty Portland police bureau sergeant was arrested on Thursday for domestic violence.

Police said off-duty Portland Police Bureau Sergeant James J. Morris was arrested by the Ridgefield Police Department on a charge of fourth degree domestic violence assault.... Read the full article here.


Advocate questions release terms for former police officer charged with assault
After a high-profile city staffer and former police officer was charged with assault, he was released with a condition that an expert calls highly unusual – a decision that's sparked a call for a review of domestic violence cases handled by London police over the last five years.

(The London Free PressSeptember 6, 2018, London, Ontario, Canada—After a high-profile city staffer and former police officer was charged with assault, he was released with a condition that an expert calls highly unusual – a decision that’s sparked a call for a review of domestic violence cases handled by London police over the last five years.

A women’s advocate is arguing the circumstances of Marcel Marcellin’s release raises broader concerns about the process for those charged in domestic cases.... Read the full article here.


Warrior police officer arrested for 2nd time in 2 years on domestic violence charge

(AL.com) August 27, 2018, Warrior, AlabamaA Warrior police officer acquitted two years ago of pushing his wife to the ground is now under arrest again for domestic violence.

Officer Ricky Gene Bryant, 53, is charged domestic violence/strangulation  involving his wife. Arrested in 2016 on two misdemeanor crimes, this time Bryant is charged with a felony crime.... Read the full article here.


Trial set for Honolulu police officer in domestic abuse case

(The Star-Advertiser) August 13, 2018, Honolulu, HawaiiThe trial is set for a Honolulu police officer who has been charged with multiple counts of abuse involving a family member.

Ryan H. Konishi, 41, appeared before Circuit Judge Rowena Somerville at Honolulu District Court today on charges of 14 counts of abuse of a family or household member and two counts of second-degree terroristic threatening, all of which are considered misdemeanors.... Read the full article here.


Decatur police officer arrested for domestic violence

(WAND) August 13, 2018, Decatur, IllinoisA Decatur Police Department Officer is on administrative leave after an arrest for domestic battery. 

On Sunday, August 12, 2018 at 3:50 p.m., Officers with DPD were called to a Decatur address for a domestic violence call involving off-duty Decatur Police Officer, Michael Lawary.... Read the full article here. 


IMPD officer found guilty of multiple counts in domestic violence case

(The Indianapolis Star) Indianapolis, Indiana, August 7, 2018An Indianapolis Metropolitan Police officer has been found guilty of multiple charges in a 2016 domestic violence case.

Daniel Bullman was charged with 13 counts in May 2016 after allegations of repeated abuse were detailed to investigators, online court records indicate. On Tuesday, Bullman was found guilty of eight of those counts, including domestic battery, criminal confinement, battery resulting in bodily injury and pointing a firearm.... Read the full article here.


Luther police officer arrested, accused of domestic abuse, assaulting officer

(KOCO) August 6, 2018, Luther, OklahomaA Luther police officer was arrested overnight, accused of domestic abuse and assaulting another police officer.

According to court records, Anthony Butler, 42, was booked into the Oklahoma County Jail early Monday morning on complaints of assault and battery on a police officer, domestic abuse by strangulation and two counts of domestic abuse in the presence of a minor child.... Read the full article here.


Top family lawyer urges Premier to investigate Queensland Police domestic violence 'scandal'

(BrisbaneTimes.com) Queensland, Australia, August 2, 2018A top Queensland family law specialist and academic has launched a scathing attack on Queensland Police and called on the Premier to launch an urgent inquiry into police’s treatment of domestic violence victims, following Fairfax Media’s revelations that a woman and her children were tracked down by her violent ex-husband with help from a police officer.

Jennifer Hetherington said the revelations were a “scandal” that evoked the “spectre of a secret culture” within the QPS and undermined state government measures to combat domestic violence.... Read the full article here.


Former head of Stuttgart military police sent to prison for domestic violence

(Army Times) July 31, 2018, Stuttgart, GermanyAn Army officer who was formerly in charge of military police and firefighters at U.S. Army Garrison Stuttgart will spend 18 months in prison and be dishonorably discharged for choking his wife, according to Stars and Stripes.

Maj. Jay Guerrero, who had been the Germany-based installation’s provost marshal, pleaded guilty Friday to aggravated assault.... Read the full article here.


Part-time officer arrested after domestic violence incident, police say
Christopher Ahern also serves as Franklin Police Department’s prosecutor

(WMUR) July 27, 2018, Concord, New HampshireA part-time Franklin police officer who is also the police department's prosecutor is facing domestic violence charges.

Christopher Ahern waived his arraignment Friday morning. He is charged with two counts of stalking domestic violence, and prosecutors said he caused the alleged victim to fear for her personal safety.... Read the full article here.


Columbia Police Officer arrested, suspended, accused of stalking, shoving woman

(WACH.com) July 6, 2018, Columbia, South CarolinaA Columbia Police Officer is currently facing charges in connection with a domestic violence incident that occurred last month.

According to the Richland County Sheriffs department, Joshua Wagner is facing burglary, domestic violence and stalking charges.... Read the full article here.


Dallas Police Officer Arrested In Domestic Violence Case

(CBS) July 3, 2018, Dallas, TexasDallas Police arrested one of their own on Tuesday.

The Dallas Police Department said Officer Jerry Tames was arrested for “harassment and assault family violence.”... Read the full article here.


Australian Federal Police officer charged with domestic violence assault, stood down from duty

(ABC.net.au) June 29, 2018, Australian Capital Territory, AustraliaAn Australian Federal Police officer has been suspended from duty after being charged with assault in a family violence incident.

The 42-year-old off-duty officer fronted ACT Magistrates Court on Saturday morning after an altercation with his partner at their home overnight.... Read the full article here.


Oregon State Police captain charged with domestic violence placed on unpaid leave

(The Statesman Journal) June 26, 2018, Deschutes County, OregonAn Oregon State Police captain has been put on unpaid administrative leave after domestic violence charges were filed against him Tuesday by the Deschutes County's District Attorney.

Capt. William Fugate is accused of harassing his then wife on two occasions in May and June of 2017.... Read the full article here.


Ex-cop said woman's 'torture' was consensual. His 10-year-old son watched, he told police

(McClatchy) June 16, 2018, Canadian County, Oklahoma—A former cop is charged with kidnapping a woman he met online after she flew from Miami, Fla. to Oklahoma to be with him, police there say.

James Otterbine, 32, was arrested on Tuesday after the woman escaped from his car and called 911, according to a news release from Canadian County Sheriff Chris West.... Read the full article here.


Deputy accused of sexually assaulting girl, 4, threatening to have mother deported if she spoke up

(The Washington Post) June 18, 2018, Bexar County, TexasA sheriff’s deputy in Texas has been accused of sexually assaulting a 4-year-old girl and threatening to deport her undocumented mother if she reported the crime, authorities say.

Authorities arrested detention officer Jose Nunez, a 10-year veteran of the Bexar County Sheriff’s Office, early Sunday while he was off duty.... Read the full article here.


New Bedford police sergeant charged with domestic abuse

(The Standard-Times) June 8, 2018, Dartmouth-MassachusettsA New Bedford police sergeant is charged with choking a woman he had been seeing during a domestic dispute Sunday at her home, according to court records.

Carlos M. Taveira, 42, of Dartmouth is charged with assault and battery on a household member, a misdemeanor; and strangulation or suffocation, which is a felony, court records say.... Read the full article here.


Calgary police officer charged with assault after domestic incident

(The Toronto Star) June 4, 2018, Calgary, Alberta, CanadaA Calgary police officer charged with assault after a domestic incident last week is now on paid leave.

The officer has been with the service for 20 years. He had been on an unrelated leave of absence since the beginning of the year and remains on paid leave — though typical procedure dictates that will be reassessed after a week, said police spokesperson Emma Poole.... Read the full article here.


York City Police officer arrested for alleged domestic assault, police say
Ritchie Page Blymier of the York
City Police Department

(The York Daily Record) May 21, 2018, York, PennsylvaniaThe City of York has relieved one of its police officers of duty with pay following his arrest Sunday afternoon at his North Codorus Township home for an alleged domestic-related assault, according to a news release.  

Ritchie Page Blymier, 48, of the 3800 block of Old Joseph Road, was taken to Central Booking and charged with simple assault and harassment. He was released on $5,000 unsecured bail, according to online dockets.... Read the full article here.


Local police officer arrested after child found with severe bruises: What we know now

(The Dayton Daily News) May 18, 2018, Dayton, OhioThe alleged child victim of a Clay Twp. police officer arrested for domestic violence had severe bruising on the face caused by an open-handed slap, according to court records.

Here’s what we know about the allegations:

The allegations

Martin D. Stringfellow, 47, was alleged to have hit the child on May 8 at a home in Brookville, according to court documents filed in the western division of Montgomery County Municipal Court.... Read the full article here.


Glynn Co. Police Lieutenant arrested after alleged domestic incident, "I'm going to kill him!"

(FirstCoastNews.com) May 16, 2018, Jacksonville, FloridaA Glynn County Police Department Lieutenant has been arrested after he showed up at his estranged wife's home and allegedly attempted to kick down the door yelling "I'm going to kill you, I'm going to kill him."

According to a report from the Glynn County Police Department, officers responded to a call of a burglary in process. When arriving on scene they found a lieutenant with their agency, Cory Sasser, who was attempting to lunge past officers at his estranged wife who had called the police.... Read the full article here.


City police constable suspended for 30 hours over domestic violence

(The Edmonton Journal) May 16, 2018, Edmonton, CanadaAn Edmonton police constable will be suspended the equivalent of 30 hours without pay after he pleaded guilty under the Police Act to discreditable conduct following a domestic violence case involving his former spouse.

Const. Jeffrey Hay pleaded guilty to one count of discreditable conduct under the Police Act, according to a May 7 police disciplinary decision. A second count was withdrawn.... Read the full article here.


Oskaloosa Police Officer Arrested After Alleged Domestic Abuse

(WHOTV.com) May 5, 2018, Oskaloosa, IowaA police officer in Oskaloosa was arrested after allegedly assaulting her girlfriend.

According to Oskaloosa News, Karissa Smith says late on Thursday night, 25-year-old Janay Pritchett of the Oskaloosa Police Department kicked her in the chest, cut her on the side of the neck with a pocket knife, and later threatened to shoot her.... Read the full article here.

See my previous post with news on officer-involved domestic violence from Nov. 2017 to May 2018 and my still-earlier post with news up to Nov. 2017 here

Find my award-winning book Police Wife: The Secret Epidemic of Police Domestic Violence on Amazon.

Follow my Police Wife Facebook page.

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Two New Book Awards for "Police Wife: The Secret Epidemic of Police Domestic Violence"

My book Police Wife: The Secret Epidemic of Police Domestic Violence has picked up a couple of new awards!

This brings the total to five for the book's second edition and 10 awards overall for both editions of Police Wife

The latest honours: Police Wife was shortlisted in the Arthur Ellis Awards for Excellence in Canadian Crime Writing, non-fiction category; and the book got an honourable mention in the San Francisco Book Festival awards, in the non-fiction category.

Previous awards for Police Wife, 2nd ed.:

  • 2018 Los Angeles Book Festival, honourable mention
  • 2018 San Francisco Book Festival, honourable mention
  • 2017 New England Book Festival, honourable mention


Awards for the 1st edition of Police Wife:

  • American Society of Journalists and Authors' prestigious Arlene Book Award for Writing that Makes a Difference
  • Hollywood Book Festival non-fiction book award, runner-up
  • eLit Book Awards, silver
  • INDIEFAB Book of the Year Awards, bronze
  • Next Generation Indie Book Awards, finalist

Support the book by writing a review on Amazon.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Los Angeles Book Festival Honourable Mention for "Police Wife: The Secret Epidemic of Police Domestic Violence"

I'm excited to announce that my book Police Wife: The Secret Epidemic of Police Domestic Violence has won an honourable mention in the Los Angeles Book Festival awards, in the non-fiction category.

This prize comes after Police Wife was named a finalist in the American Book Fest's 2017 Best Book Awards in November and won an honourable mention in the New England Book Festival awards.

Both editions of Police Wife have so far won eight awards in total. 

The first edition of Police Wife won the Arlene Book Award for Writing That Makes a Difference, given once every three years by the American Society of Journalists and Authors; was the runner-up for the Hollywood Book Festival non-fiction book award; won silver in the eLit Book Awards; picked up bronze in the INDIEFAB Book of the Year Awards; and was a finalist in the Next Generation Indie Book Awards.

Sunday, February 4, 2018

Statistics on Police Officer-Involved Domestic Violence From the "Police Wife" Blog

They say it's hard to manage what you can't measure. As a resource for police family members and others, I present a comprehensive list of statistics on domestic violence in police homes and related issues. 

The data is adapted from my book Police Wife: The Secret Epidemic of Police Domestic Violence. See the book for complete references.

Domestic violence in police families
  • Percentage of 728 officers who admitted to Arizona State University sociologist Leanor Johnson in a study that they had “gotten out of control and behaved violently” toward their spouse or children in the previous six months: 40
  • Percentage of 385 male cops who admitted to Arizona police Detective Albert Seng and his study co-authors that they were violent toward their spouse at least once in the previous year: 28
  • Percentage of 115 female police spouses of male cops who told Seng their husband had been violent to them in the prior year: 25
  • Percentage of cops in their 20s who reported domestic violence: 64
  • Percentage of divorced or legally separated cops who reported domestic violence: 66
  • Percentage of U.S. and Canadian women who reported physical or sexual assault by an intimate partner in the previous year: 1.5 to 4 


Police discipline in the U.S.
  • Out of 227 investigations of LAPD officers for domestic violence from 1990 to 1997, number of upheld abuse complaints, according to a 1997 inspector general's investigation: 91 
  • Number that led to a criminal charge: 18
  • Number that led to a conviction: 4
  • Number of cops who were fired: 1
  • Most common discipline: suspension of one to four days or admonishment
  • Portion of abusive cops who had no mention of the sustained complaint in their performance records: over three-quarters
  • Percentage who got a promotion after a sustained complaint: 29
  • Out of 123 U.S. police departments responding to a 1995 survey about discipline for domestic violence, percentage that normally terminated an officer for a first sustained domestic violence incident: under 6  
  • Percentage that said termination was appropriate after a second sustained incident: 19
  • Percentage of U.S. cops convicted of misdemeanour domestic assault who lost their job, according to a 2013 study: 32 
  • Number of officers in the Puerto Rico Police Department still on active duty after two or more domestic violence arrests, according to a 2011 U.S. Department of Justice investigation: 84 out of 98 (or 86 percent) 
  • Number still on active duty after three or more domestic violence arrests: 11 out of 17 (or 65 percent)
  • Percentage of U.S. cops charged with a criminal offence who were convicted, according to a 2011 report: 33 
  • Percentage of the U.S. general public charged with a criminal offence who were convicted: 68
  • Percentage of U.S. cops convicted of a criminal charge who were incarcerated: 36
  • Percentage of the U.S. general public convicted of a criminal charge who were incarcerated: 70


Police discipline in Canada
  • Percentage of Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) officers disciplined for domestic violence who were dismissed or ordered to resign (2008-2013): 0
  • Percentage of RCMP officers disciplined for making a false statement who were dismissed or ordered to resign: 11
  • Percentage of RCMP officers disciplined for theft who were dismissed or ordered to resign: 50
  • Average number of days of docked pay for Mounties disciplined for domestic violence: 6.8
  • Average days of docked pay for Mounties who made a false statement: 7.9
  • Average days of docked pay for Mounties disciplined for theft: 8.5
  • Percentage of officers at four large Canadian police forces who were terminated from their job after being convicted of domestic violence or disciplined for assaulting a domestic partner: 0
  • Percentage of Canadian cops convicted of domestic violence who were sentenced to prison, according to a 2015 study: 7 
  • Percentage of the Canadian general public convicted of comparable domestic violence offences who were sentenced to prison: 49


Police response around the world

The U.S. still has far to go to improve policies and discipline on officer-involved domestic violence, but Canada and other countries lag even further behind. 

The data in the table below is from a survey I sent in 2015 to 178 police forces in 10 countries: the U.S., Canada, the UK, France, Australia, South Africa, the Bahamas, Ireland, Jamaica, and Trinidad and Tobago. Only four of 52 police forces contacted outside North America responded to the survey. The “international” column’s figures are weighted equally by responding country and include the data for the U.S. and Canada. (See more detailed results in Police Wife.)



Read more about the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) model policy on domestic violence by officers.


Policing: a man's world
  • Percentage of U.S. cops who are women: 12 
  • Percentage of U.S. cops who said they’d be equally comfortable with a female or male boss, according to a 2008 study: 7.2 
  • Percentage of U.S. cops who agreed that “women are just as capable of thinking logically as men”: 7.1
  • Percentage of Canadian cops who are women: 21 


Police officer health
  • Portion of police spouses who wanted departments to offer cops and families alcoholism treatment and stress reduction programs, according to sociologist Leanor Johnson's study: over three-quarters 
  • Percentage of cops who said they felt worried or guilty about excessive alcohol use: 36
  • Percentage who reported suicidal thoughts: 30
  • Divorce rate of cops in large U.S. cities, according to the FBI's report Domestic Violence by Police Officers: nearly 75 percent 
  • Life expectancy of U.S. while male cops compared to the American white male average, according to a 2013 study: 21.9 years lower 
  • How long a U.S. white male cop can expect to live after the average police retirement age of 57: six years
  • How long the average U.S. white male can expect to live after age 57: 31 years


The role of police

The role of police in society is closely connected to domestic violence in police homes. The abuse is rooted in the tremendous power we bestow on officers, the impunity they enjoy and derogatory male officer attitudes to women. Many of these same issues are at the core of today’s debates about policing in our society, including police shootings of African Americans and police sexual harassment of women officers and female drivers at traffic stops. 

These same issues are also connected to broader social issues, such as growing inequality in our society and the militarization of police. Police officers are often the ones who must deal with the consequences of inequality, such as homelessness and unemployment. As the job burden on police officers grows, their families and health often pay the price. Below are correlations—all statistically significantbetween the number of police officers per capita and measures of inequality.* The more inequality, the more police we tend to find.

In 22 developed countries
Correlation of police per capita with total unemployment: 58 percent
… with youth unemployment: 63 percent
… with women’s participation in the labour force: negative 46 percent

In the U.S.

Correlation with income inequality in each state: 38 percent
… with the ratio of black to white unemployment: 42 percent
… with the ratio of black male to total white unemployment: 55 percent

In Canada
Correlation with Aboriginal youth unemployment in Canadian cities: 69 percent
… with Aboriginal male youth unemployment: 76 percent

* A correlation shows how much two sets of data fluctuate together. It doesn’t prove one thing causes the other, but it can point to predictive relationships worthy of attention. When a correlation is statistically significant, it’s very unlikely to be a random coincidence.


Find Police Wife on Amazon.
Read the Top 9 Frequently Asked Questions About Police Officer-Involved Domestic Violence.
Get a free extended excerpt of Police Wife.