Stop Violence

Article by Tom Scanlon of The Daily Courier

Monday Night Football is usually a big event, but during tonight’s battle between the Chicago Bears vs. the New York Jets, the talk may be more of what has happened off the field than the actual game. According to an (the Sports Illustrated website) article, “Chicago Bears star receiver Brandon Marshall has been named in at least eight separate incidents of violence against women since he was drafted in 2006. But none of those incidents led to a criminal conviction (several didn’t result in any charges filed), and the NFL suspended him only once, for one game. The resurfacing Marshall controversy – an accuser claims Commissioner Roger Goodell failed to fully investigate her claims – adds to a nightmarish football season. There has been one instance after another of pro players alleged of shocking domestic violence crimes against women – and, in one particularly disturbing case, a 4-year-old.

Did you think the muscular football player Ray Rice slugging his then-fiancée in the face was shocking? It happens all the time, in real life. Here in Yavapai County, where the closest most will get to a pro football player is a big screen TV, men threatening, punching and choking their female partners is literally an everyday occurrence. In less than 300 days so far this year, Prescott, Prescott Valley and nearby areas have had more than 1,000 domestic violence calls. “It’s a cancer,” said Robin Burke, of Prescott Valley-based Stepping Stones’ women’s shelters and hotlines.

Prescott Valley is by far the DV leader, with a year-to-date call total of 577 – more than double Prescott’s, which has a nearly equal population. “I think we’ll be over 800 this year,” said detective James Tobin, a specialist in domestic violence. Last year, PV police responded to 760 domestic violence calls. “Those are calls where an actual report was taken,” Tobin clarifies. “It doesn’t cover cases where nothing was documented, so the total calls were probably 1,000 to 1,200.” In 2009, PV police answered 546 DV calls; the number has climbed steadily since. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, says Tobin. “The reality is our population is increasing in Prescott Valley,” he said. “I think through the efforts of raising awareness, more people are calling (911). “I think it’s a good thing.”

End Domestic Violence

Tobin heads the grant-funded Family Violence Unit, which includes a civilian who assists with victims and an administrative support person. His experience tells him that, like in the NFL cases, the Prescott Valley cases most often are violence of men inflicted on women. “About 75 percent of the time when it’s a man and woman (involved), the man turns out to be the predominant aggressor,” Tobin said. And a chilling trend:

“One of things seen is a rise in strangulations. Arizona made that aggravated assault – when you put someone in fear for their life, compromised a person’s ability to breathe. The law has looked at that more seriously. “I’ll ask a victim has he or she ever choked you. Eighty to 90 percent of the time the answer is ‘Yes.’ “It’s the person saying to the victim, ‘I could kill you anytime I want.'”

Excerpts of recent Prescott Valley Police Department reports on domestic violence cases (names have been changed to protect possible victims):

  • “Dave C. committed the crimes of Threat and Intimidation, Harassment and use of phone to harass others by calling his ex-wife and her boyfriend 87 times on the above date.”
  • “Angela can be heard (on a 911 recording) reporting in a frightened voice that her boyfriend is trying to break into her house. (Previously) she said when she was exiting the house with the last of her belongings James threatened her by saying ‘Just you wait bitch, I’ll get you.’ “Angela then detailed for me an incident that occurred in which James assaulted her at his house .. She said she was bleeding profusely from her ear and requested medical attention. Angela said James’ father stated they needed to take her to the hospital. James said they could not take her to the hospital because the police would be notified and he would go back to prison.”Angela said James has told her many times that if he goes back to prison he will have her killed by associates …”
  • “Susan told me she and Arnold were having a discussion over the man’s role in a relationship and the woman’s role in a relationship. She told me she walked away from Arnold and he grabbed her by the hair on the back of her head. She told me she fell to the ground and spun around falling on her back. The next thing she knew Arnold was straddling her sitting on top of her chest. He then began to strike her on the head and face area. She said the next thing she knew she was being strangled and she couldn’t breathe. She said she didn’t remember at that time if she lost consciousness or not but she did remember being strangled. “I noticed red marks on Susan’s neck which were consistent with hands applying pressure to the throat area. She also had red marks on her chest and face.”