Of all the calls a police officer is dispatched to, the domestic violence calls are one of the most dangerous.
Statistics show reductions in most violent crimes over the last couple of decades.
For the last few years, domestic violence has been steadily increasing. According to The National Coalition on Domestic Violence, intimate partner violence accounts for 15% of all violent crime, and intimate partners commit 72% of all murder-suicides. These are shocking numbers.
Unfortuantely, having been a police officer and homicide detective in a large city before becoming a lawyer gives me a somewhat unique perspective on domestic violence calls. Of all the attorneys I know that handle domestic violence cases, I am the only one that has the first-hand experience of making domestic violence arrests and investigating domestic violence cases on the scene, not weeks or months later.
The domestic violence cases I handle now, as an attorney, pale in comparison to the violence I witnessed as a police officer. It always shocked me the level of violence one could inflict on someone they supposedly loved. I want to share one of those stories with you.
A very vivid case I recall was when I was a young police officer patrolling the Hammocks area of Miami-Dade County.
I had only been on the road for a few months. I quickly learned domestic violence calls are frequent and unique. My partner and I were dispatched to a domestic battery call in one of the area’s mega apartment complexes. The call was what we had come to expect, the husband and wife get into an argument, and the husband slaps the wife in the face. Such calls were typical of domestic violence calls. It was what happened after we made the arrest that sticks in my memory.
I handcuffed the husband, and we were walking him out to our patrol car when across the way, about 50 to 60 yards across the complex, we saw a man and a woman arguing on a second-floor landing. It was about 3 a.m., on a weekday, so the complex was otherwise quiet. The couple did not notice us. I remember hearing them arguing about who was supposed to make a car payment. It seemed like we stood there a long time just listening to them argue, me, my partner, and our prisoner. We put the prisoner in the car and turned our attention to the arguing couple.
My partner yelled out to them, but they were so engaged in their argument with one another they did not hear him. The man was visibly enraged, and I remember thinking, “this guy is really overreacting.” As we were approaching the bottom of the stairs, the man pushed the woman down the stairs. The woman tumbled down, sometimes going head over heels until she reached the bottom where she laid motionless. I remember seeing her body bounce down the stairs in slow motion. I remember the man’s face, filled with anger and rage. I do not think he ever realized we were there until he saw us at the bottom of the stairs.
As these cowards usually do, the man ran back inside the apartment.
My partner went after him while I attended to the woman. She was badly hurt. Her face covered in blood. Her hair stuck to the side and front of her face with blood. She was lying face up, and I swept the hair from her face. I remember when I touched the side of her face, her cheekbones were shattered, her face felt like a sponge. She was unconscious but thankfully, still alive.
Of course, I requested fire rescue and additional back up. My partner subdued Mr. Wonderful cuff him up. As my partner walked the man down to our patrol car, as he passed my victim, he tried to kick her in the head. I remember yelling something like “you’ve already hurt her bad enough,” I do not remember what I said. I was pissed. I wanted to beat that guy something fierce, as did my partner. We did not. We did our job like we were supposed to do. We learned to become indifferent to the violence.
Fire rescue finally arrived and revived my victim. I got her information as they loaded her into the rescue truck for the ride to the hospital. I got her name, date of birth, address, phone number, and her statement all before she left. I wrote her statement down word for word in my notepad and kept it there for a few years. I do not know why I kept it. I just did.
Her statement was, “HE DIDN’T MEAN TO DO IT!”
If you are the victim of domestic violence there is help available. It is not always easy to find help. We can provide you with information and resources to help you get your life back together. Please see our domestic violence resources page at http://www.pjmlawyer.com/domestic-violence
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No part of this video is to be considered legal advice. This video is for educational purposes only. No attorney/client relationship is formed from watching this video.
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