Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Police Domestic Violence in the News (Updated)

Up to a 40 percent of U.S. police officers admit there is domestic violence in their home. The rate is up to 15 times higher than among the public.

But only a tiny fraction of abusive cops ever face justice. The rare ones who are investigated typically get off with token punishment, and almost none see the inside of a prison, except in the worst cases.

Abused police wives and girlfriends usually feel they have nowhere to turn.

And the hidden abuse epidemic has wide-ranging impacts on all of us and is connected to a host of other problems -- mishandled 911 domestic calls at other people's homes, police sexual harassment of women cops and female drivers at traffic stops, and mistreatment of African Americans and First Nations people.

Here are some of those stories along with related news about domestic violence in general. All accused are considered innocent until proven guilty in court.

Also read this earlier post on police domestic violence incidents from Dec. 2014 to June 2015.

September 24 -
San Jose, California

Police officer Geoffrey Evatt Graves of the San Jose Police Department in California was fired after being charged with raping a woman while on duty, The San Jose Mercury News reports, citing authorities.

Graves is alleged to have sexually assaulted a woman two years ago in a motel room after she asked to be taken there after a disturbance call at her home.

In a separate case, Graves also faces domestic violence charges in connection with his ex-girlfriend, a San Jose police dispatcher, the newspaper says.

September 23 -
Wichita, Kansas

Acting Police Chief Nelson Mosley of the Wichita Police Department in Kansas was appointed to his position even though city manager Bob Layton knew about a domestic violence allegation against Mosley, KWCH Eyewitness News reports.

Details of the case were hidden in a confidential file in which the suspect wasn't named, according to the station's investigation.

A victim in the case told police officers that her ex-boyfriend pushed, punched and threatened to kill her, according to a 2005 police report that the station obtained. The police report showed photos of the victim's injuries, the station said.

After KWCH aired its investigation, Mosley addressed the issue at a police briefing, saying, "Just like anything, my wife and I regret the argument.... I can't say anymore about that. But we've moved on to build our beautiful family and in the end I hope that people hopefully will respect out privacy."

Mosley said the police report was investigated but that the district attorney's office declined to lay charges. KWCH filed a request for records, but the DA's office said no documentation exists.

September 11 -
Queensland, Australia

A 41-year-old police senior constable in the Queensland Police Service in Australia was dismissed after disciplinary proceedings substantiated allegations of domestic violence, abusive and threatening phone calls, and accessing confidential information, the service said on its website.

The officer was not named.

September 8 -
Georgetown, Ohio

Kendall Kumpf, a police officer in Georgetown, Ohio, was arrested on a domestic violence misdemeanour charge allegedly involving his 18-year-old stepson, Cincinnati's Fox19 reports.

Another report said Kumpf and his stepson were both jailed after fighting.

September 6 -
New South Wales, Australia

A police officer in Australia's New South Wales northern region has been charged with seven domestic violence-related offences, Australia's ABC News site reports.

September 4 -
Burlington, Vermont

Police officer Ethan Thibault of Vermont's Burlington Police Department was arrested after a domestic violence complaint from his girlfriend, Burlington's WPTZ News reports.

Thibault was previously involved in the fatal shooting of a mentally disturbed man in 2013. He was cleared of wrongdoing in that incident.

September 4 -
Clovis, California

Officer Chris Hutchison of the Clovis Police Department in California will not face a criminal case after his arrest in August for alleged domestic violence, ABC News reports.

Hutchison was arrested last month after a women reported alleged abuse, but Clovis police said he had a clean record prior to the arrest, ABC said.

The district attorney's decision not to charge means Hutchison could be cleared to return to work.

August 31 -
Montgomery, Alabama

Montgomery, Alabama, police officer Dan Barrett and his wife were both arrested and each charged with one count of domestic violence third-degree (harassment), Alabama's news site reports.

Barrett is the fourth Montgomery police officer arrested since late July. 

Two other officers were charged with domestic violence-related offences, while a fourth was charged with violating a child abuse and neglect reporting law.

August 26 -
Radcliff, Kentucky

Officer Terry Allen Moore of the Radcliff Police Department in Kentucky was arrested at his home and charged with assault in the 2nd degree (domestic violence) and unlawful imprisonment 1st degree, the local ABC affiliate WBKO reports.

Radcliff Police Chief Jerry Cross confirmed that the alleged victim is Moore's spouse.

August 17 -
South Africa

South African police came under fire in the country's parliament from women's groups saying police were failing to act against men abusing their partners, The Cape Times newspaper says.

The groups cited the case of police officer Joseph Masie, who stormed a Johannesburg police station in June and gunned down his girlfriend, a police major and two others before being killed by a tactical squad, as reported here in this earlier blog post.

Masie's girlfriend had called police numerous times about Masie, but police didn't take action, her family said.

Women's groups said hundreds of complaints had been filed against police for failing to follow the country's Domestic Violence Act.

Of 318 complaints against police from October 2013 to March 2014, 57 led to an officer being disciplined, a report found. All received only a verbal or written warning. None were dismissed.

An audit found that only one of 156 South African police stations was fully compliant with the act.

August 16 -

Officer Raymond Petty of the Dallas Police Department has been arrested on a family violence charge, Dallas's WFAA Channel 8 News reports.

He was put on administrative leave pending an internal investigation.

August 14 -
Olive Branch, Mississippi

Police Detective Jessica Riley of the Olive Branch Police Department has been arrested and charged with domestic violence, WMC Action News 5 in Memphis reports.

August 13 -
Fullerton, California

Prosecutors in Orange County, California, will not lay domestic violence charges against officer Manuel Ramos of the Fullerton Police Department, The Orange County Register reports.

Ramos was arrested in July after police responded to a report of alleged domestic violence at a home.

Prosecutors said it couldn't be proved beyond reasonable doubt that Ramos committed a crime.

Ramos had previously been one of three former Fullerton officers criminally charged in the videotaped beating death of a homeless, mentally ill man in a parking lot.

Two of the officers were found not guilty by a jury and charges were dropped against a third.

Ramos gained notoriety because the video showed him putting on Latex gloves and telling the man he was "getting ready to fuck you up."

August 12 -
Mount Prospect, Illinois

Sergeant Anthony Lietzow of the Mount Prospect Police Department in suburban Chicago has been charged with domestic battery, aggravated battery to a peace officer and resisting a peace officer after a dispute at his home, local newspaper The Daily Herald reports.

Lietzow had been named the department's officer of the year in 2005, 2007 and 2009 and received the Cook County Sheriff's Award of Merit in 2006.

August 12 -

Warrick County, Indiana

Sergeant Karen Vaughn-Kajmowicz of the Evansville Police Department was suspended without pay following her arrest on preliminary charges of strangulation and battery in the presence of a child under age 16, Indiana's 14News reports.

August 11 -
New Orleans

Officer James Cunningham, a 34-year veteran of the New Orleans Police Department, was arrested and charged with domestic abuse battery and false imprisonment after an incident in which he allegedly grabbed a woman, threatened her and refused to let her leave, KLFY News reports in Lafayette, Louisiana.

Cunningham was suspended without pay.

He had been on administrative reassignment since a previous arrest in January on domestic abuse battery and home invasion charges, KLFY and The New Orleans Advocate report.

August 11 -

Denver Police Department patrol officer Lane Warren Gardner faces a misdemeanour domestic violence charge after an alleged incident involving his girlfriend, also a Denver officer, The Denver Post reports.

Gardner allegedly attacked his girlfriend then locked himself in a bathroom. 

His girlfriend told police Gardner had access to multiple weapons, but a responding SWAT team couldn't make direct contact with Gardner and left.

Other officers later approached the house with shields but again couldn't contact Gardner and left. Police then issued a warrant for the officer's arrest.

He turned himself in to police three days later. Both he and his girlfriend were put on administrative duty.

August 10 -
Plainville, Connecticut

Gary Raia, a retired park police officer, was arrested and charged in relation to alleged assaults and threats against his wife throughout their 34-year marriage, including allegedly pointing a gun at her head while intoxicated, The New Britain Herald reports.

Raia was charged with first-degree threatening, second-degree strangulation, unlawful discharge of a firearm, carrying a firearm under the influence, first-degree reckless endangerment and disorderly conduct.

His wife told police he "pushed her into walls, punched her, tried breaking her arms, pulled guns on her and has also choked her" since "day one of their marriage," the story said.

She said she was afraid to call police because he would say, "We are brother officers, and we take care of each other."

Raia had been engaged to patrol the city's parks. He pleaded not guilty to all the charges.

August 6 -
Parlier, California

Sergeant Thomas Rodriguez of the Parlier Police Department in California was arrested on suspicion of domestic violence after a dispute with a woman, The Fresno Bee newspaper reports.

Rodriguez had previously been placed on leave while he was investigated for allegedly hitting his teenage son in the face. He wasn't charged in the case.

Rogriguez was reinstated in July when a newly appointed interim police chief found that three of the department's four sergeants were on leave.

Sergeant Carter Pittman was also on leave while being investigated for allegations of possible child abuse but was also reinstated.

August 5 -
Aberdeen, Ohio

Former Police Chief Clark Gast of the Aberdeen Police Department in Ohio faces two charges of domestic violence after allegedly grabbing his wife by the throat, slamming her against a wall, lifting her in the air as she gasped for breath and saying, "I ought to kill you," Cincinnati's WCPO station reports.

Gast called police two days after the incident to report his wife had hanged herself at their home. The death was ruled a suicide.

One of the two charges is related to Gast's 10-year-old stepdaughter, who investigators said witnessed the attack.

The family dog started to bite Gast during the attack, and he responded by choking the dog, investigators said in an affidavit. 

The girl attempted to get the dog from Clark, but he then allegedly grabbed the girl by the hair and pulled her away, the affidavit says.

The girl also is alleged to have said she witnessed Clark repeatedly beat her mother.

An WCPO investigation discovered that Aberdeen police refused to call outside investigators after the wife's death.

Police also kept the death report from prosecutors for more than six months, the investigation found.

August 3 -
Cape Breton, Nova Scotia

A male member of the Cape Breton Regional Police in Nova Scotia is under investigation in connection with two alleged incidents of domestic violence involving the officer's girlfriend, The Cape Breton Post reports.

Police responding to a disturbance at a local fire hall removed the officer only to later receive information that he had allegedly assaulted his girlfriend at the fire hall.

Police then learned about a second alleged assault involving the couple on the street.

August 3 -
Gardner, Massachusetts

Massachusetts state trooper Corey Benoit faces domestic violence charges after an argument with his girlfriend that left her with a broken collarbone, AP reports citing authorities.

Benoit faces charges of domestic assault and battery after he is alleged to have slammed his girlfriend into a wall and trashed the house in a rage following an argument over loud music, The Boston Globe reports.

A police report also said Benoit struggled with two police officers who intervened, "flailing and uncontrollably swinging his arms and legs." 

The struggle resulted in a "significant amount of property damage," the police report said.

July 29 -
Jason Keith Sablan Mendiola is the second
Guam police reservist charged this month
in connection with allegations of domestic abuse.

Jason Keith Sablan Mendiola is the second reservist in the Guam Police Department to be arrested this month in connection with allegations of domestic abuse.

Mendiola "is accused of terrorizing persons known to him," a police spokesperson was quoted saying by the Pacific News Center.

He was arrested on charges of reckless conduct, family violence, terrorizing, disorderly conduct and possession of a deadly weapon in the commission of a felony.

Earlier this month, police reservist Nicholas Gutierrez was charged in relation to an alleged assault on his girlfriend (see below).

July 24 -
Halifax, Nova Scotia

Two Halifax police officers face charges related to domestic violence, CBC reports.

A 13-year male Halifax Regional Police officer was charged with assault and forcible entry in connection with an incident in which the complainant is a female Halifax officer.

The second case involves a police officer who faces two charges of assault after incidents involving a woman he was dating.

July 15 -
Mustang, Oklahoma

Master Sergeant Gregory Douglas Driskill of the Oklahoma City police has been charged on suspicion of feloniously pointing a firearm and misdemeanour domestic abuse, The Tulsa World newspaper reports.

Driskill is alleged to have held a gun to the head of a women he was dating and saying he would kill her. He also allegedly pushed the woman, causing her to fall and injure her back.

July 15 -
Spokane, Washington

Officer John Yen of the Spokane Police Department has been arrested for first-degree burglary-domestic violence after a report that he was kicking the door of a residence, the SpokaneCity news site reports.

Yen, who was armed with his off-duty firearm, was reportedly asked by a woman who was his girlfriend at the time to leave, but instead he entered the residence, the story says.

July 14 -
Huntsville, Alabama

Sergeant Christopher Grubbs of the Huntsville Police Department in Alabama was arrested along with his wife after reports of a domestic dispute, the news site reports.

Both were charged with third-degree domestic violence (harassment), a misdemeanour.

July 13 -


A family violence survivor who was raped and hit repeatedly by her partner says she heard police laughing with her attacker after she called them for help, an Australian royal commission on family violence has heard.

The mother of four was the first victim to testify at the royal commission, which started work today in Melbourne, Australia's ABC News reports.

She said her husband was controlling and kept the phone in a locked room. He forced her and their four kids to sleep in a car parked outside his work when he was on the night shift.

A shelter told her she could only bring two of her kids to stay with her.

The commission is expected to release its findings next February.

UK report slammed police response

It follows the scathing report of a British commission last year that slammed UK police for "alarming and unacceptable weaknesses" in domestic violence investigations.

Most victims "had experienced very poor attitudes at some point from responding officers. Victims told us that they were frequently not taken seriously, that they felt judged and that some officers demonstrated a considerable lack of empathy and understanding."

The UK inquiry found police took photos of injuries in only 46 percent of cases, while interviews with neighbours were done less than a quarter of the time -- even though these are recommended practices for domestic abuse investigations in the UK.

July 13 -

Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Patrick Gravelle, a police officer in Sunrise, Florida, was charged with two counts of aggravated assault and one count of battery after he allegedly threatened to kill his wife and stepson, Fort Lauderdale's WSVN-7 News reports.

Gravelle threatened to hunt down his wife and kill her, then himself if she ever left him, stepson Anthony Massaro was quoted saying.

"He thinks he has some sort of privilege that no one else has.... He thinks he can do anything," Massaro said.

A state attorney told a judge he was "very concerned for both of the victims' lives."

Gravelle was relieved of duty with pay pending the investigation.

July 10 -
Asbury Park, New Jersey

Local police were called 21 times before New Jersey police Sergeant Philip Seidle is alleged to have shot his ex-wife to death on June 16, the Asbury Park Press newspaper reports.
New Jersey police Sergeant Philip Seidle,
accused of  murdering his ex-wife, appears 
in court.

Authorities say Seidle shot his ex-wife several times in broad daylight after running her car off the road, a previous post reported on this blog.

Seidle was charged with murder.

The last police report was filed less than a month before the killing, the newspaper said, citing police reports it obtained.

The reports were heavily censored before being released.

July 8 -

Cleveland, Ohio

Cleveland police officer David Anderson pleaded guilty to domestic violence and attempted unlawful restraint in connection with attacks on his then-girlfriend, reports.

Anderson had been suspended without pay after he was charged with three misdemeanour counts of domestic violence and felony stalking last December, as reported on a previous post on this blog.

Anderson was sentenced to 210 days in jail and two years of probation.

July 6 -

Staten Island, New York

Former New York Police Department Sergeant Manuel DaSilva was charged with four domestic violence-related misdemeanours after allegedly throwing a knife at his ex-girlfriend and threatening to shoot her, police say.

DaSilva, who avoided jail time despite seven prior arrests over a five-month stretch, allegedly told his ex, "If you tell the cops I'll put a bullet in the back of your head and get away with it because I was a cop," according to a criminal complaint against him.

July 5 -


Three-quarters of Australians believe family violence is at least as big a threat as terrorism, prompting some to call on local governments to reassess funding priorities and devote more to services such as shelters, The Guardian reports.

About 48 percent said family violence was more of a threat than terrorism, while 26 percent said it was about the same level of threat -- a total of 74 percent.

Just 18 percent believed it was less of a threat.

The Guardian reported that almost 90 percent of shelters in New South Wales were full, resulting in women being turned away.

July 4 -

Demopolis, Alabama

Police Sergeant Derrick Carter in Demopolis, Alabama has been fired and charged with domestic assault, a Fox 6 WRBC in Birmingham reports. Few additional details have been reported.

July 1 -


Nicholas Gutierrez, a police reservist in Guam, was arrested for allegedly punching a woman in the face in a family-violence incident, the Pacific News Center reports.

Police officials faced questions because Gutierrez had a previous arrest in 2005 on charges of family violence and assault and another arrest in 2008 on charges of stalking, terrorizing, public drunkenness and harassment.

June 30 -

Hartford, Connecticut

Officer Israel Zea, a 17-year veteran of the Hartford Police Department, faced charges after police say he broke into his ex-girlfriend's apartment and punched her three times, The Hartford Courant reports.

Zea was charged with second-degree burglary, third-degree assault, second-degree criminal mischief and first-degree criminal trespass.

June 29 -
Elgin, South Carolina

Police officer Douglas James Barton of Elgin, South Carolina, was charged with domestic violence in the second degree after what police say was an intoxicated attack on his girlfriend, The State newspaper reports.
Elgin, South Carolina, police officer Douglas 
James Barton was charged with domestic 
violence in the second degree after what police 
said was an intoxicated attack on his girlfriend.

Deputies were sent to a home after a 911 hang-up call in which a woman could be heard screaming in the background, police said.

Barton is reported to have assaulted his girlfriend, thrown her to the ground, smashed a phone with a hammer when she called 911, placed a pillow over her face to stop her from screaming, grabbed her around the throat and struck her in the face.

Also read:

Police Domestic Violence in the News (Dec. 2014 to June 2015)

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