Law Enforcement Expert Opines on Mismanaged Domestic Violence Incident

Law Enforcement Expert WitnessThis case involves a domestic violence victim who was shot and killed by his wife in Kansas. The victim’s wife had a criminal record, and was on probation at the time of the incident in question. On the day of the incident, law enforcement had been called to the couple’s house, where the victim implored officers to provide assistance and stated that he feared for his life. Instead of arresting her, law enforcement left the scene after a few minutes, despite the fact that she was in the house and armed – a violation of her parole agreement. Shortly after the officers left the house, the victim’s wife shot and killed him.

Question(s) For Expert Witness

  • 1. Please describe your experience in law enforcement as it relates to domestic violence calls.
  • 2. How often do you serve domestic violence protection orders?
  • 3. What are the proper protocols that should be in place when responding to a domestic violence call?

Expert Witness Response E-079309

During my 25 plus years of law enforcement experience I held positions as a patrol officer, field training officer, academy training officer, detective in child sex crimes, gang unit, undercover vice/narcotics, sergeant, internal affairs sergeant, detective sergeant, lieutenant, detective lieutenant, motor lieutenant, and have served on a number of administrative Boards of Inquiry investigating the actions of department personnel. I have investigated countless domestic violence incidents, interviewed numerous victims and suspects of domestic violence, and arrested many violent offenders that were armed and unarmed. This is the classic domestic violence call for service where all of the indicators are screaming for the police to take immediate action. The victim had made multiple reports to law enforcement, the suspect was a convicted felon, armed and on probation. Those facts by themselves are sufficient to arrest the wife for being a prohibited possessor, convicted felon in possession of a firearm, which is both a state and a federal offense, (punishable by up to 10-years imprisonment in a federal prison) and clearly violating her probation. There is additional cause to arrest for the death threats against the victim. Given the circumstances and facts of this incident, the death of the victim was predictable and most certainly preventable. The deputies actions, as described, are inexcusable. They are tantamount to malfeasance in office or cowardice and go against the domestic violence training given to law enforcement and the laws enacted by state legislatures specifically to protect victims of domestic violence.

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