Tag Archives: domestic abuse

“Exemplary Officer” Suspended by Dartmouth Police Department for Repeatedly Abusing Girlfriend

Officer Josh Luis was celebrated as an “exemplary officer” in September on the Facebook page of the Dartmouth (Massachusetts) Police Department for not abusing and/or murdering a minority woman during a traffic stop (see below). Just a few months later though, he has been suspended after his girlfriend reported that he had been abusing her repeatedly over the course of the past year. the reported abuse included threatening her with a gun and sexually assaulting her while threatening to rape her.

Via TurnTo10.com:

According to court documents, the victim claims she was physically and verbally abused on at least 10 separate occasions during the past year.

The victim claims that during one incident, Luis “threatened to rape her while tearing her clothes off,” but stopped.

On another occasion, she said Luis pointed his gun at her before threatening to kill himself if she left him.

The woman also claims Luis took a phone from her several times.

Domestic violence advocates note that his actions are consistent with what they see in many other cases.

“The pattern is overall about power and control and that involves, in fact, controlling how people communicate,” said Pamela MacLeod Lima, who is the executive director of Women’s Center in New Bedford.

Meanwhile, Chief Robert Szala has vowed to investigate even though Luis “is a very competent, very good officer and it’s just an unfortunate situation we’re all in.” Once that investigation concludes, Officer Luis could be taken off paid vacation and instead fired, which would force him to to apply for a job at some other department after his wrist heals from the minor plea deal they offer him.

The Dartmouth Police Department Public Relations Department hasn’t posted anything on their Facebook page (yet) about this “unfortunate situation” or whether his girlfriend is a minority. (Even though they couldn’t post the other one fast enough).

Dartmouth Police Officer Josh Luis pictured with a woman he didn’t beat.


I took a screenshot before they removed it, though. (Not my first day on the internets.)

Officer Luis is apparently really good at eating chicken wings, too.

Uniformed Atlanta Cop Yelled “F Da Police” While Committing Home Invasion Against Ex’s Family

After kicking down the door to the house of his ex-fiance’s family, Officer Phillip Barresi, yelled “fuck da police!” in response to her father mentioning that they should call the police. The Atlanta police rookie, who was not on duty at the time, was however in full uniform and reportedly was holding his hand on his department issued gun during the time he was inside the house. Barresi later claimed that he accidentally kicked the door open and  “regretted his actions.”

He also attempted to justify his actions by saying that he was “extremely upset” because his ex-fiance, who has not been publicly identified, broke into his house. The victim however stated that she had not broken into his house, but had visited his house to retrieve some of her and her baby’s possessions, which she had left at the house when moving out. Barresi had to drive about thirty miles from his home in Jonesboro to reach the house where his ex-fiance was living with her parents and sister.

Officer Barresi has only been with the Atlanta Police Department since March of this year. The charges against him include home invasion and second degree criminal damage to property. The attack was committed on November 28th. He has since been placed on paid vacation until the department and district attorneys are finished going through the motions of prosecuting him and a judge sentences him, most likely as part of some plea deal that guarantees he will only get probation.

Via the Atlanta Journal Constitution:

Officer Phillip Barresi, a Jonesboro resident, drove to a home in Locust Grove where his ex-fiancée was staying with her sister and parents, according to a police report. Police said Barresi kicked down the door, forced his way inside the Draba Lane home and threatened the woman and her family…

A male resident of the house said he heard the doorbell ring repeatedly, then heard someone kicking at the door four times. The door then broke open, the report said.

The resident saw Barresi in his APD uniform come into the home with his hand on his gun and yell out several things, some of which he could not remember because he was “so frightened,” the report said.

The resident’s wife said her husband asked her to call police, the report said. She then heard Barresi say, “(expletive) da police,” then he ran out the front door, the report said.

While I support people’s right to say “fuck da police” (even the police themselves), the whole putting your uniform on, driving thirty miles, “accidentally” kicking your ex’s door down, and then running around making threats with your hand on your gun thing is probably a bit of a warning sign. Especially, since cops are at least four times as likely to abuse their children and/or wives than the average person is. In all likelihood, it’s just a matter of time before he ends up getting fired for some sort of domestic battery incident from the next department he gets hired at after he is allowed to resign from the APD.

Police Wife Writes About the “Secret Epidemic” of Police Domestic Violence

This post was originally published at the “Ms. Magazine” blog in October of 2015 by and (who was married to a police officer for 20 years) under the original title “Police Wife: The Secret Epidemic of Police Domestic Violence.” (See below for their full biographies.)

Domestic violence takes place in up to a staggering 40 percent of law enforcement families, but police departments mostly ignore the problem or let it slide, write ex-police wife Susanna Hope and award-winning investigative journalist Alex Roslin in their new book, Police Wife: The Secret Epidemic of Police Domestic Violence. The following excerpt is adapted from their book, available on Amazon or as an eBook from their website, and is being published as part of the Ms. Blog’s Domestic Violence Awareness Month series.

According to Alex Roslin, “Police Wife” itself has more than 60 pages of appendices giving advice and resources to survivors, family and friends plus recommendations for advocates, police, governments, journalists and researchers.

In order to help survivors and others, they’ve made virtually all of the appendices available for free through their website. Here is the direct link to this extended free excerpt.

The propensity for police to abuse their wives, children, and other family members is, of course, no secret among people who read CopBlock.org. It’s rare that more than a few days go by without a report of a cop having committed domestic violence and several CopBlock Network Contributors have posted about the increased risk that entails marrying or having the bad fortune to be the child of a cop. Obviously, the habitual efforts of Good Cops to cover up the crimes of those Bad Apples, is also a large factor in its commonality.

Police Wife: The Secret Epidemic of Police Domestic Violence

In 2009, in Utica, New York, police Investigator Joseph Longo Jr. killed his estranged wife, Kristin Palumbo-Longo, stabbing her more than a dozen times in their home, then stabbed himself to death. One of the couple’s four children discovered the horrifying scene on coming home from school that afternoon.

Police Officer Cop BlockUtica’s then-Police Chief Daniel LaBella said the killing was completely unexpected—an incident “no one could have prevented or predicted.” But Kristin’s family filed a $100-million wrongful-death suit saying city and police officials didn’t do enough about Longo’s troubling behavior before the tragedy.

Kristin had contacted police at least five times in the weeks before she was murdered, saying she feared her husband might kill her and their kids, but police supervisors discouraged her from making reports or seeking a protection order, the lawsuit said. In a preliminary ruling, a federal judge agreed that the police actions may have “enhanced the danger to Kristin and amounted to deliberate indifference.” The city settled the suit in 2013, paying the couple’s children $2 million.

The murder wasn’t an isolated tragedy. It was unusual only because it was so public and so bloody. A staggering amount of domestic violence rages behind the walls of cops’ homes, while most police departments do little about it. In the vast majority of cases, cops who hurt a family member do so in utter secrecy, while their victims live in desperate isolation with very little hope of help. Research shows:

  • An astonishing 40 percent of cops acknowledged in one U.S. survey that they were violent with their spouse or children in the previous six months.
  • A second survey had remarkably similar results—40 percent of officers admitted there was violence in their relationship in the previous year. The abuse rate for cops is up to 15 times higher than among the public.
  • Police discipline is startlingly lax. The LAPD disciplines cops with a sustained domestic violence complaint less strictly than those who lie or get in an off-duty fight. In the Puerto Rico Police Department, 86 percent of cops remained on active duty even after two or more arrests for domestic violence.

It seems incredible that a crime wave of such magnitude and far-reaching social ramifications could be so unknown to the public and yet at the same time an open secret in a mostly indifferent law enforcement community. It is surely one of the most surreal crime epidemics ever—at once disavowed, generalized and virtually unchecked.

Aptly summing up the bizarre disconnect, retired Lieutenant Detective Mark Wynn of the Nashville Metropolitan Police Department in Tennessee told PBS in a 2013 story on the issue: “What’s amazing to me is we’re having this conversation at all. I mean, could you imagine us sitting here talking about this and saying, how do you feel about officers using crack before they go to work, or how do you feel about the officer who every once in a while just robs a bank, or every once in a while decides to go in and steal a car from a dealership? We wouldn’t have this conversation. Why is it that we’ve taken violence against women and separated that from other crimes?”

Domestic violence is bad enough for any woman to deal with. Shelters, many of them chronically underfunded, regularly turn away abused women because they’re full, while only about one in four incidents in the wider population ever get reported to police. Hundreds of U.S. communities have adopted “nuisance property” laws that encourage police to pressure landlords to evict tenants who repeatedly call 911 over domestic abuse, further dissuading victims from seeking help.

But abuse at home is far worse for the wife or girlfriend of a cop. Who will she call—911? What if a coworker or friend of her husband responds? Police officers are trained in the use of physical force and know how to hurt someone without leaving a trace. They have guns and often bring them home. And if a cop’s wife runs, where will she hide? He usually knows where the women’s shelters are. Some shelter staff admit they are powerless to protect an abused police spouse. Her abuser may have training and tools to track her web use, phone calls and travels to find out if she is researching how to get help or, if she has fled, where she went.

In the rare case where the woman works up the nerve to complain, the police department and justice system often victimize her again. She must take on the infamous blue wall of silence—the strict unwritten code of cops protecting each other in investigations. The police have a name for it—extending “professional courtesy.” In the words of Anthony Bouza, a one-time commander in the New York Police Department and former police chief of Minneapolis, “The Mafia never enforced its code of blood-sworn omerta with the ferocity, efficacy and enthusiasm the police bring to the Blue Code of Silence.”

It all adds up to the police having a de facto licence to abuse their spouses and children. And it’s a worldwide phenomenon that police families struggle with everywhere from Montreal to Los Angeles, Puerto Rico, the U.K., Australia and South Africa.

The torrent of abuse is virtually unknown to the public, but without realizing it, we all pay a steep price. Domestic violence is the single most common reason the public contacts the police in the U.S., accounting for up to 50 percent of all calls in some areas. Yet, a battered woman who calls 911 may have a two-in-five chance of an abuser coming to her door. Official investigations have found law enforcement departments that tolerate abuse in police homes also mishandle violence against women in other homes.

Abusive cops are also more prone to other forms of misconduct on the job—such as brutality against civilians and violence against fellow officers. We all pay as taxpayers when governments have to settle multi-million-dollar lawsuits with victims of police abuse or negligence. Police domestic violence also has close connections to a host of other problems—police killings of African Americans, sexual harassment of female drivers at traffic stops and women cops, and even more broadly, issues like growing social inequality and subjugation of Native Americans.

And police officers themselves are victims, too. Even though our society calls cops heroes, we give them little support to cope with the pressure of police work. A big part of the job is to wield power to control other people. As a result, policing attracts people who are good at controlling others or may have a craving for that kind of power—and then trains them to use their power better. Control is also the main driver of domestic violence. Is it a surprise then that so many cops are violent at home?

Support the Ms. Magazine Prison and Domestic Violence Shelter Program today and show women fleeing domestic violence that they’re not alone.

Susanna Hope (a pseudonym for security and privacy reasons) is a Canadian professional writer who was married for over 20 years to a police officer. She has two sons and two grandchildren.

Alex Roslin is an award-winning Canadian journalist who was president of the board of the Canadian Centre for Investigative Reporting. His investigative and writing awards include three Canadian Association of Journalists prizes for investigative reporting, a gold prize in the National Magazine Awards and nine nominations for CAJ awards and NMAs.