Yesterday, the Boston Globe reported on a murder that almost certainly could have been prevented, involving a domestic violence call that Boston Police Department officers had responded to a year ago, in November 2014. This story has cause a lot of concerns among the public about the effectiveness of restraining orders, that I’d like to address today.
The BPD officers who responded to the call, reportedly did not check to see whether the victim had previously been previously granted an Abuse Prevention Order (restraining order) against her boyfriend. Doing so is the first order of business when police officers respond to calls of domestic abuse. Instead, the officers removed the boyfriend from the apartment, and dropped him off at a detox center. A day later, that person murdered the victim, who previously had, in fact, taken out a restraining order against him. If the officers had checked this out as protocol requires, they would have arrested that person, immediately. To be fair, both the victim and the accused were reportedly extremely intoxicated at the scene, and in no condition to convey accurate information to the officers. Regardless, the officers could have checked for this information, with a simple call to their dispatcher. Continue reading