Police as First Responders to Domestic Violence Learning Unit 4 A mini content lecture designed as a supplemental learning resource for CRJ 461 by Bonnie Black.
Prior to 1980 Arrests on misdemeanors, only if committed in officer's presence. Domestic violence considered civil matter NOT criminal . 2 Result: Few Arrests
Historically: Police Mediated D.V. Situations Defuse conflict Suggest husband or boyfriend “cool off” Encourage one party to leave or take a walk Viewed as marital dispute -- family issue Victim blaming common Repetitive calls resulted in frustration Lax or non-existent police policies on D.V. 3 Crisis Intervention
Practice of Mediation Ends in Early 1980’s Push for greater accountability and punishment Recognize need to limit police discretion Emphasis on deterrence Police not qualified to mediate Didn’t stop the abuse; police continue to go to same homes over and over 4
Push for Change Feminist Rallied for New Legislation Publicity Built Momentum Victims United Key Lawsuits Against Law Enforcement 1979- Sorichetti v. City of New York 1984-Thurman v. Torrington 5
Police Held Liable 1979 - Sorichetti v. City of New York Suit filed after “father attacked daughter with a fork, knife and screwdriver; then tried to saw off her leg” during visitation
Ruling: “Police failed to investigate reports daughter had not returned from visit with father” with a protective order in place.
Award: $2 Million 6 Source: “Insult to Injury” by Linda G. Mills, p. 36-7.
Police Held Liable 1984 – Thurman v. Torrington Suit filed after police failed to arrest after he violated probation terms and a protective order. A delayed response by police to a call by the victim resulted in her being stabbed repeatedly and severely injured.
Ruling: Police repeated failure to intervene and arrest violated Constitutional rights; proved police department treated intimate violence different than stranger violence.
Award: $2.9 Million 7 Source: “Insult to Injury” by Linda G. Mills, p. 37.
Mandatory and Pro-Arrest Policies Are Implemented Attempt to create consistency in response. Attempt to counter frustrations about D.V. Based on deterrent approach. Victim is no longer responsible for arrest decision. 8 Does it work?
New Laws Don’t Always Change Attitudes and Actions Discretion still exists. Repeated calls to same house continue. Primary aggressor determination is difficult. Led to “Dual Arrests.” Police arrest both parties Revictimization of victim occurs Fosters belief D.V. is a marital issue Allows abuser to blame victim and avoid responsibility 9 Another Issue: Most victims don’t call the police!
Police Justify Dual Arrest “I arrested them both to teach them a lesson. I am tired of going back to that house over and over again.” “If I arrest both of them, then the victim can get some help.” 10
Why Victims Don’t Call the Police Victims fear retaliation Believe police won’t do anything Cultural norms: see family issues as private Brings shame to whole family to reveal secrets May be illegal immigrant or have a warrant Loss related to income or child custody Acceptability of violence as normal Negative past experiences with the police Decision making is impaired because of abuse (PTSD) 11
Think About It! Should victims retain some control in whether their partner should be arrested? How important is victim empowerment in the criminal justice process? 12
Police Training on D.V. is Added Required in academy for new recruits. Encouraged as continuing education for officers; in some jurisdictions it is mandatory. Victim advocates and survivors participate or have a voice in officer training bringing in new perspective. 13 D.V.
Training Focus Role in Victim Safety Understand D.V. and Victim Dynamics to Counter Frustration Collection of Evidence and the Importance of Documentation Define and Clarify D.V. Laws and Changes that have Occurred 14
Think About It! Should 911 operators also get training on D.V.? Example: “Operator: What is your emergency? Maria: I was just – I have a restraining order on my husband and he just threatened me. ‘I’m coming over there with a .35, some kind of gun, and shooting everybody.’ I am having a party and it’s my birthday…. Operator: But he hasn’t come over there? Maria: No, he hasn’t. Operator: But he’s just threatening to do so? Maria: Yes, I am sure he will. Operator: Okay, well the only thing to do is just call us if he comes over there. I mean, what can I do? We can’t have a unit sit there and wait to see if he comes over? Maria: Oh, my God. Operator: So if he comes over, don’t let him in. Then call us. Maria: Thank you.” 15 Example Source: “The Criminal Justice Response to Criminal Justice” by Andrew Klein, Thomson Wadsworth, 2004.
Outcome “A short time later, the husband scaled a back wall into the yard, crashed through the back door of the tiny house….shooting. When the shooting was over, Maria and three others were dead and others seriously wounded. The husband fled to his father’s house…..surrendered to police.” Lawsuit: Fajardo v Los Angeles Decision: http://caselaw.findlaw.com/us-9th-circuit/1142367.html 16 Think About It! With training, what could have the 911 operator done differently or was it an appropriate response?
Community Policing Emerges 1. Changes police role from crime fighter to problem solver. 2. Focus on non-crime problems and resolutions. 3. Greater reliance on community resources. 17 D. V. no longer just about arrest.
New Laws Empower Police State Level: Laws expand with greater consequences Federal Level: Violence Against Women Act (V.A.W.A.) September 13, 1994 Part of the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994 Created New Crimes: Sexual Assault, Stalking. D.V. Protections for Victims Funding for Training and Victim Services 18
Discretion Influences Actions Definition: The authority to decide Reality: Despite policy changes, police attitudes, frustrations and lack of understanding about D. V. influences discretion. Ingredients of Discretion: Facts Values Influences 19
Denial by either party abuse occurred when evidence exists.
Speculation victim will NOT follow through or cooperate with criminal prosecution.
Factors NOT Relevant to Arrest Decision Victim’s statement they don’t want their partner arrested. Disposition of any previous police calls involving same victim or accused. Speculation arrest may not lead to a conviction. Victim’s emotional state. Where incident occurred; private place. Race, culture, social, political, or professional position of victim or accused. 21
Do abusers attempt to manipulate law enforcement officers when they respond to domestic violence, thus influencing officer discretion? 22 Think About It!
Ways Abusers Attempt to Manipulate Officers Pretend they were sleeping. Be apologetic, friendly, polite and very courteous. Express frustration or sadness over the alcoholic and/or drug addicted victim. Attempt to get sympathy by presenting themselves as a "victim." 23
Ways Abusers Attempt to Manipulate Officers Tries to get officers to relate to their situation - "You know how those women are." Will lie and fabricate a story; blames victim. Will be calm and surprised by officers' arrival. Will minimize incident by describing it as "a little" disagreement or a "family issue." 24
Arrest Requires Probable Cause Definition: Some evidence exists to lead the officer to believe that the offender “probably” did it. Domestic violence complicates arrest decisions What if both have injuries? Should primary aggressor be considered? What happens if probable cause can’t be determined? 25 Think about it!
Options for Non-Arrest Situations 1. De-escalate 2. Ask Someone to Leave 3. Write an Appropriate Report with Written Statements 4. Advise & Warn Parties; Complete an Incident Card 5. Make Appropriate Referrals 6. Provide Safety Plan 7. Explain Orders of Protection 26 No Probable Cause Exists
1980 Arizona D. V. Laws Empower Police Officers can arrest on misdemeanors which did not occur in their presence. Creates the option of obtaining an Order of Protection. 28
Arizona D.V. Laws Continue to Expand Mandates arrest under certain conditions Emergency Orders of Protection added Violations of civil protective orders are criminal 29
AZ - New Felonies Added Aggravated Domestic Violence A.R.S. 13 -3601.02 “If you are found guilty of a misdemeanor domestic violence charge for a third time (in an 84 month period) you can be charged with a felony…..considered a Class 5 felony and carries up to 2 ½ years in prison for a first conviction.” Aggravated Harassment A.R.S. 13-2921.01 30 Source: www.myarizonadefenselawyer.com/arizona-criminal-charges/domestic-violence-laws/
AZ Arrest Laws Based on probable cause Dual arrest requires separate acts Can’t arrest for self-defense Victim’s position regarding arrest irrelevant No citations or tickets 31
Does AZ have Mandatory Arrest? “Shall arrest” in D.V. cases involving “infliction of physical injury or involving the discharge, use or threatening exhibition of a deadly weapon or dangerous instrument.” All other circumstances officers “may arrest.” Department policies influence arrest decisions. 32 Source: www.azleg.state.az.us/ars/13/03601.htm
D.V. Crimes: AZ Requirements Designated Crime Threatening Assault Aggravated Assault Kidnapping Criminal Trespass Criminal Damage Interfering With Judicial Proceedings Stalking Etc. Relationship Living together or lived together Child in common or pregnant Related by marriage Spouse, parent-in-law, step-child, brother and sister in law, step-parents, grandparents Related by blood Parent, child, grandparent, brother, sister 33
2009-New Relationship Added Dating relationships added to AZ D. V. Law 13-3601 A6: “The relationship between the victim and defendant is currently or previously a romantic or sexual relationship. The following factors may be considered……. Type of relationship Length of relationship Frequency of interaction between the victim and defendant …length of time since termination” 34 Source: www.azleg.state.az.us/ars/13/03601.htm
Federal Law Enforcement: FBI Enforcement domestic violence and stalking laws at federal level New laws evolved from Violence Against Women Act 35 Photo Source: http://trueslant.com
Federal Law Related to Crossing State Lines With intent to commit D.V. crime To cause bodily injury To violate protection order Refer to FBI for investigation 36
Lautenberg Amendment18 U.S.C. 925 (a)(1) Federal Provision: No possession of firearm if convicted of misdemeanor crime of domestic violence involving act of violence Effective date September 30, 1996 BUT RETROACTIVE Attempt to control weapon access of abusers 37
Conclusion D. V. laws continue to evolve and be enhanced giving more options for law enforcement and prosecutors. Despite law changes, discretion impacts on police officer arrest decisions. The feminist movement and lawsuits forced police departments to be more responsive to D.V. AZ domestic violence laws are very broad (more than intimate relationships), requiring a specific relationship and crime. 38