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Feb 26 2018

Mishandling of domestic violence call by NYPD officers

The NYPD issued a statement that two of its police officers received suspensions without pay due to their mishandling of a call regarding a disturbance at the home of a woman who had suffered abuse at the hands of her husband, and subsequently died. The officers drove to her home in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, but they never exited the vehicle prior to reporting that the call was unjustified.

However, one hour later, police were called to the home again. But this time, as was reported by The New York Times, the woman, 22-year-old Tonie Wells, was discovered lying unconscious at the bottom of a stairwell in the basement. She was declared dead at the scene, and police turned her two-year-old daughter, Charlie, over to relatives.

Her husband of nine months, Barry Wells, was placed in custody. He had been out on bail following an arrest for the charge of choking his wife last September. An autopsy will be performed to find out the cause of Mrs. Wells’ death. In the meantime, charges against Mr. Wells are pending.

When Mrs. Wells was found, she had bruising around her neck, as well as injuries on other parts of her body. Police said an autopsy was needed to ascertain whether her death was caused by injuries she suffered in a fall, from strangulation or from having been beaten.

As was revealed on their Facebook pages, the couple married on April 10, 2017. However, in the spring, Mrs. Wells filed a grievance against her husband alleging harassment. Police arrested him in September after Mrs. Wells claimed he dragged her down a flight of stairs and into a closet where he choked her until she became unconscious. On September 21, he was released on $5,000 bail, and received an order to distance himself from his wife.

Every police precinct has a list of households in which there has been more than one domestic violence complaint, and officers habitually visit them with the aim of preventing additional violence. However, the Wells’ were not being watched, and police believe it was because their relationship crossed boundaries within precincts and boroughs. While the attacks took place in Manhattan, the couple sometimes resided in Brooklyn.

A conviction of domestic assault could result in jail time, compulsory counseling and could adversely affect your ability to secure employment. If you are confronting domestic assault charges, call the experienced criminal defense attorneys at the Brill Legal Group. They are versed in having charges dismissed, negotiating plea agreements and defending against such charges at trial.