Thursday, February 16, 2017

Ex-Police Wife's Suit Alleges Botched Response Involving Domestic Violence

"Former members of the now overhauled Monticello Police Department are facing a federal lawsuit over delayed response to a 911 call regarding a former officer and his estranged wife," reports Salt Lake City's KSL TV in a story.

"Elizabeth Young, now divorced from ex-Monticello Police Sgt. Jesse Cole Young, and her boyfriend at the time, Nicholas Ketron, filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court Thursday seeking compensation and punitive damages after Jesse Young admitted to breaking into his estranged wife's home and assaulting Ketron in December 2015. But officers from his department and a 911 dispatcher delayed sending help until the following morning....

"Young claims that she was frightened and believed her estranged husband was 'out of control,' and called 911. The police dispatcher who answered, Redd, 'seemed unconcerned about Ms. Young's safety, and instead demanded to know whether her guest was male and what his name was,' the lawsuit states.

"Fearful, Elizabeth Young and Ketron left the house, according to the suit, and went to a pavilion at a nearby church to wait for police. No one came. After 30 minutes, Elizabeth Young called 911 again and Redd told her that because of the late hour, no one would be dispatched until morning.

"Afraid to contact law enforcement again, Elizabeth Young and Ketron claim they spent the rest of the night in a vehicle in the mountains 'to hide out'...."

Read the full story here.

Monday, February 6, 2017

Why Police Really Fail to Investigate Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault: Police Wife Blog

Two newspaper investigations in Canada have just come out asking a very similar question. Why are police failing to properly investigate crimes involving violence against women?

The Toronto Star asks in this investigation: In the majority of domestic violence cases in Ontario, there are telltale signs that a life is in danger -- so why are women still dying?

And The Globe and Mail in a separate investigation Friday revealed that Canadian police dismiss one in five sexual assault cases as unfounded -- a dramatically higher rate than for other crimes. Why?

Why so few spouse abuse arrests?

The FBI asked a similar question back in 2000 in its landmark report Domestic Violence by Police Officers. Why were police making so few arrests in cases involving spousal abuse?

The FBI's conclusion: Many responding officers botch cases because they themselves are abusive at home. 

"If a police officer batters himself, his ability to conduct an objective investigation of the problem in other cases decreases," the report's introduction said. 

Abusive cops may identify with other abusers: FBI

"Indeed, data show [that] where a police officer approves of domestic violence and resorts to physical abuse in his own marriage, he grows less likely to arrest others for the offense...

"Police officers in relationships characterized by severe conflict may view domestic violence as more normal and tend to identify with the male offender."

It's important to look deeper at the underlying causes of poor police responses. Those causes often include derogatory attitudes to women and impunity for officers who commit sexual misconduct and spousal abuse. Problems in one area often signal issues in connected areas.

Pattern of botched investigations and misconduct

For example, a U.S. justice department investigation of Baltimore city police in 2016 found a pattern of sexual misconduct, racial discrimination and poor investigations of sexual assault.

The department "makes minimal to no effort to locate, identify, interrogate or investigate [sexual assault] suspects," the justice department found.

"We found this to be true even in cases where the suspects had been identified or were easily identifiable on the basis of the victim's testimony."

Police blamed sexual assault survivors

Officers routinely blamed sexual assault survivors for getting raped and discouraged them from filing a complaint -- for example, asking questions such as "Why are you messing that guy's life up?" 

One detective in the sexual offense unit reportedly complained: "In homicide, there are real victims; all our cases are bullshit."

An earlier U.S. justice department investigation in 2011 blasted the Puerto Rico Police Department for its "longstanding failure to effectively address domestic violence and rape in Puerto Rico." 

Sexual assaults twice as common among cops: study

The same investigation also found rampant officer-involved domestic violence and amazingly lax discipline for abusive cops. Of 98 officers with two or more domestic violence arrests from 2007 to 2010, 84 were still on active police duty.

Disturbingly, in 2011, the U.S. National Police Misconduct Reporting Project found that U.S. police officers committed over two times more sexual assaults per capita than the general population. 

Citing FBI data, the study also found that minors made up 52 percent of the alleged survivors of serious sexual misconduct by cops, such as sexual assault or battery. Sexual misconduct was the second most common form of wrongdoing reported, after excessive force.

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Thursday, February 2, 2017

Get a Free Excerpt of My Book "Police Wife: The Secret Epidemic of Police Domestic Violence"

Did you know that only about one in five police departments worldwide typically terminate an officer even after two convictions or sustained incidents of domestic violence?

Read this and much more in a free extended excerpt from my award-winning book Police Wife: The Secret Epidemic of Police Domestic Violence.

The excerpt comes in downloadable PDF format and includes virtually all 80 pages of the appendices, offering advice and resources for survivors and family members and tips for police, governments, advocates, the public, journalists and academics.

Police numbers tied to unemployment

Also included is an appendix bringing together key statistics on police officer-involved domestic violence, including the results of my survey of over 170 police departments in 10 countries on their policies on this problem.

Also eye-opening are statistics about the role of police in our society, which I talk about a lot in the book because that's an important part of understanding why there's so much spousal abuse in police families.

For example, the number of police officers per capita in 22 developed countries has a 63-percent correlation with the youth unemployment rate. In other words, the more young people are unemployed, the more police there tend to be.

Racial discrimination

In the U.S., the number of officers in each state has a 55-percent correlation with the ratio of the unemployment rate for black males versus white Americans. 

In other words, the more male African Americans are unemployed compared to white people -- a measure of racial economic discrimination -- the more police there tend to be.

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