What part of serve and protect is so hard to understand? The badge is not a license to kick the shit out of people and waste time collecting traffic taxes for your district. It is a burden, a sacred trust to protect people. Police in Florida ignored a young woman’s attempts to get help, including a record of increasingly violent behavior by her ex-boyfriend. Then in an act everyone but the police saw coming, he murdered her. Details: (via Jessica, Feministing):
A junior at DeLand High in Florida, Hall was murdered by her ex-boyfriend – Clay Kufner – after an abusive relationship and months of stalking and harassment. Three days before she was killed, Hall was told by police to stop calling them so much (to relay concern about her ex) or she would be arrested.
“The police officer said if you call us one more time on him, I’m going to arrest you both,” Sherry Hall [Natasha’s mother] said. “So, the day she died, she knew she couldn’t talk to police. So, she handled it herself.”Michele Karpowicz said everyone noticed the warning signs before the homicide — except police.
“I was going crazy,” Hall’s best friend said. “He was psycho, jealous and abusive.”
The police response? Chief Deputy Randel Henderson of the DeLand Police Department says that, “Basically we have a very young couple who are experiencing, at least up until last Friday evening, just very normal relationship problems.”
The “normal relationship problems” include nine incidents of harassment and violence which were logged with the local police since November, including one where Kufner hit Hall in the face and another where he tried to drag her out of a store by her hair. Hall’s family also noted that Kufner threatened to burn down their house. You know, “normal” teen romance stuff.
This goes beyond incompetence. Can you say criminal neglect?
The media are largely missing the impact of this crime:
Even the media seems to be getting in on the normalizing-violence-against-women trend. One article says Hall and Kufner had a “stormy” relationship. Another headline reads: “2 teens shot dead in apparent murder-suicide,” which is pretty damn passive considering this kid killed his ex-girlfriend. But this is my favorite headline: “Teddy Bear May Have Led To Murder-Suicide.” Not violence, not abuse, not the idea that women are less than people. A teddy bear.
Now I’m aware that sensationalist headlines are par for the course. But between the media coverage and the police inaction, I just feel sick. In a society that romanticizes stalking and ignores violence against women, it’s no surprise that Hall couldn’t find protection. But it’s still shameful.
This crime sends a chilling message to victims of domestic violence: Complain and get harassed or imprisoned, stay silent and be murdered. And given the propensity for violent abuse of power, getting arresting is no light threat for police to make.
The first people to publicly criticize the police department that let this girl be murdered should be police officers. This is their profession being dragged through the mud by the vile actions of their peers.
What gets me is, how much of this came about as a result of a generally sexist approach to women by police? Do they institute this policy elsewhere? If you or a loved one go to the police with a threat, will they listen, or will they let you be murdered?
Police Reform ought to be on every candidate’s agenda. And politicians already in office ought to be scrambling to write an effective bill and get it passed.