Thursday, February 21, 2008

Were there two sets of rules regarding domestic violence?

Autopsy: Drew Peterson's third wife was murdered :: CHICAGO SUN-TIMES :: Metro & Tri-State Peterson is under investigation for the disappearance of his fourth wife. His third wife's death had been ruled an accident, but that has changed.

He was a sergeant in the Bollingbrook, Illinois (suburban Chicago) police force. Did police treat one of their own differently than they would treat an average member of the public?

The third Mrs. Peterson drowned four years ago.
But in November, as police investigated the disappearance of Stacy, [the fourth wife,] [Will County States’ Attorney James] Glasgow announced he was reopening the case and said the scene of her death appeared to have been staged to conceal a homicide.
And it does appear that "things" were not handled as they should have been by the local police for years.
During Peterson's [3rd] marriage to Savio, police responded to at least five domestic violence calls at their home.
. . .
Her sister says Savio felt unprotected and afraid. She kept notes about what happened, filed for an order of protection against her husband and even sent letters to a local prosecutor complaining about the police.

"There have been several times throughout my marriage with this man where I ended up at the emergency room," she wrote in one letter. "And I have reported this only to have the police leave my home without filing any reports."
No reports? I wonder why that could be.

Domestic violence doesn't go away by itself. Abusers don't get tired of abusing, in fact they usually escalate - especially around a divorce. Whether Peterson is guilty or innocent isn't the point here. The point is that the police in Bollinbrook didn't do their job. Filling out a report of a domestic dispute is a pretty small thing, but it should be done. Did they fail to do their job because the offender in question was one of their own? An order of protection - if granted would take away his guns, and probably his ability to do his job.

Whether Peterson is guilty of murder is something I doubt we will ever know, but I do hope his brother officers lose at least a little sleep over the fact that they have ignored a problem with one of their own. I doubt they will.

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