It remains an open secret that police domestic abuse is a widespread and deeply entrenched problem.
The consequences of police violence are indelible. It impacts communities large and small nationwide. Large because police violence is seen publicly, small because research data suggests a connection between police violence on the job and police domestic violence at home. Indeed, cops and domestic violence have a strong relationship. As Black Lives Matter protests happened last summer, video after video showed law enforcement going after unarmed civilians — shoving, punching, using tear gas, rubber bullets, and in some cases, using live ammunition against civilian populations. What wasn’t seen was what cops do at home.
In Louisville, local businessman and community leader David McAtee was shot and killed by law enforcement at a protest over the killing of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor. Add that to the fact that, so often, police can get away with nearly murder, accountability and justice in the public sphere, and in the private sphere, when police domestic violence happens in the home, doesn’t seem achievable.
There are those who argue that the police can be trusted always to act in the public interest, protecting and serving the innocent. Surely many do, but research into the private lives of cops suggests that that faith in the restraint of police officers on the job is founded at least in part on men who abuse their wives and children. And what percent of cops are domestic abusers is conspicuously quite high.
Though data on police domestic violence is not only notoriously difficult to gather but also skewed by a culture of silence and intimidation, it suggests that police officers in the United States perpetrate acts of domestic violence at roughly 15 times the rate of the general population. Because officers tend to protect their own, domestic victims of violent cops often don’t know where to go. Sometimes they reach out to Alex Roslin, author of Police Wife: The Secret Epidemic of Police Domestic Violence, the American Society of Journalists and Authors-award-winning book that constitutes perhaps the only major work on this subject.
“I get emails that would make your hair crawl,” says Roslin, a Canadian freelance journalist who came to the issue two decades ago after a friend working with survivors of abuse informed him police wives and biker gang spouses constituted the bulk of her patient population, suggesting a hidden epidemic of police domestic abuse.
Indeed, police domestic abuse, Roslin points out, is an open secret. In 1991, sociologist Leonor Johnson presented to the U.S. House of Representatives Select Committee on Children, Youth and Families, suggesting that 360,000 of the then 900,000 law enforcement officers in the U.S. were likely perpetrating acts of abuse. After a Los Angeles Police Department officer murdered his wife and committed suicide in the late 1990s, a review of domestic abuse allegations brought against officers showed that between 1990 and 1997, 227 alleged cases of domestic violence were brought against police officers, only 91 were sustained and only four resulted in the conviction of criminal charges. Of the four convictions, only one officer was suspended from duty. He was asked to take three weeks off.
For many, cops remain heroes. But the law enforcement culture lionized by reactionaries is also a culture of silence antithetical to the values of most partners and parents. Fatherly spoke to Alex Roslin about the extent of the police domestic violence problem and why it persists.
The numbers in your book are absolutely shocking. In particular, the number 15 is shocking. You support the claim that abuse is roughly 15 times more pervasive within police families than in the general population. Where does that come from?
The major study here was done by a police officer and a sociologist in Tucson, Arizona, working with a collaborator who had studied domestic violence in military families. It wasn’t by the police department officially. That study found that 40 percent of cops reported having participated in domestic violence in the previous year. The researchers questioned spouses and officers separately with anonymous questions and came up with strikingly similar figures.
An FBI advisory board later found that roughly 40 percent of officers who filled out questionnaires in a number of different settings admitted to being physically violent with their spouse in the previous six months. The general population data for self-reported abuse is closer to 4 percent when people are asked to report on the last 12 months.
The numbers are higher for cops who work night shifts.
It’s worth noting that the sample sizes are a bit small and that these are older studies. Given the potential scale of the crisis, it’s bizarre that there wouldn’t be more available numbers.
The 40 percent number is the closest I could figure while trying to do an apple to apple comparison. We know for sure that the rate of domestic violence among cops from the little data we have is ridiculously high. We know that thanks to research done in part by police officers, some of whom suggest that number might be low. So we wind up with cops being around 15 times more likely to engage in domestic violence than members of the general population. [Editor’s Note: The comparison here is based on 1.5 to 4 percent of U.S. and Canadian women reporting domestic violence by a partner and an estimate that 6 to 14 percent of children are abused each year. These numbers vary because data is based largely on incidents and self-reporting.]
We should consider why the data is nonexistent or decades old. Why is no one looking at a massive issue of public interest? I’ve been working on updating my book for a third edition. Doing research I’ve found 40 examples of cops in the United States murdering their spouses. That’s over just three years.
Is there data available on the children of cops? Is there any reason to believe that abuse doesn’t extend beyond partner violence?
Sadly, I’ve seen no data on that, but anecdotally… I’ve heard a lot of stories. It’s not just police partners that face abuse. It’s children. There have been a lot of reports of that and it makes sense.
It’s a broad question, but unavoidable: Why is this happening?
Abuse is an open secret among police officers. Many officers claim that it’s the result of a stressful job. But in my research and in talking to domestic violence researchers, it becomes clear that stress doesn’t really cause abuse. There are lots of stressful jobs. Paramedics and surgeons and firefighters don’t have this kind of problem.
The more honest officers will tell you that policing is a job about control — controlling people and controlling chaotic environments. It attracts people with that mentality and that desire. Not all police officers are the same, but the more authoritarian police officers are the more likely they are to be violent at home.
These men aren’t losing control. They are maintaining control. That’s different.
That’s a disturbing idea because it suggests a strong connection between domestic violence and public violence. Do you see a strong link there?
The reality is that police are being put into places in society where they are supposed to be in control, but we have both movements toward recognizing the rights of more groups — notably women and minorities — and also more inequality than ever. Maintaining control in that environment becomes extremely taxing. My fear is that this is trending the wrong way. When police are protecting this kind of status quo, you’re going to see more domestic violence, not less.
The inequalities of society force us to empower the police. And that empowerment results in the hiring of abusers. Police domestic violence is a mirror held up to our society. Who polices an unequal and violent society?
Are there causes beyond the desire for control? It feels like that impulse would be tempered by the proximity of… law enforcement officers. Is it not?
No. Cops get away with it. Anthony Bouza, a one-time commander in the New York Police Department and former police chief of Minneapolis, said that ‘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.” That’s reflected in the rates at which violence is reported and the degree to which there are consequences.
What happens to partners abused by the police?
In general, these women are terrified. Normally, domestic violence survivors are not in a good place. But these women know the cop has a gun and knows how to commit violence without leaving a mark and they say, “Everyone will think you’re crazy.” And she can’t necessarily go to a shelter because he knows where they are.
Some of these women contact me. I’m a freelance journalist in Canada. I’m happy to do what I can to help, but why is there no one else?
You’re a father. What do you tell your kids about the police? How do you talk to them about law enforcement given what you know and given your work?
My daughters know what I do. They know what I’m writing about. My wife has two uncles who are retired officers. We live in a small town and a former police officer is now the mayor and lives down the street. Police officers are humans. At the same time, my kids know that there is a darker side to policing.
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“Most Texans don’t go 60 they go 80”. So he’s getting punished for not going over the speed limit!?!? This is a joke
“Isn’t 60 safer than 70” “Well actually you’re suppose to go the posted speed” “No, that’s the maximum” Holy shit that man came with the factual statements lol.
Cops: “Why does everyone hate cops?” Also Cops: “You are obeying the law and I don’t like it. I’m going fish for a reason to arrest you.”Imagine being a cop and thinking “Wow, this guy is driving awfully safe… I better make sure he’s not drunk!”9:35 Cop: “Most Texans go 80 in a 70 zone.” Man: “Well, why aren’t you stopping them instead?”
He realized the guy was okay when he talked to him. His ego just wouldn’t let it go.I got stopped for “driving too safe” once. As soon as the officer came over, he asked why I was driving like that. I asked him what he meant. He said I was driving “suspiciously” safe. I facepalmed in front of him and asked him if driving safely was a crime. He didnt say yes, he started beating around the bush by saying “im the one asking questions here”. I stayed silent the rest of the time. I didnt commit any crime and I didnt answer any more questions. He eventually got bored after a few minutes and left“I’m just pulling you over to make sure you are okay.” “You’re okay?” “Cool, here is your warning.“ Fantastic dialogue right there. From what I’ve seen on this channel, open dialogue with a Police Officer isn’t friendly or polite, it’s basically phishing. Who can blame people for only complying with the bare legal requirements when engaged with a Police Officer? Any further and you are a successful mark. When did Police Officers become street magicians? “Look here, see how you are a lawful citizen? Bam, now you’re a criminal, hands up.” Sad and appalling.
What erodes our confidence in officers is knowing that the good ones know what the bad ones do and are doing, but won’t blow the whistle because of the brotherhood.
this is the equivalent of pulling somebody over for coming to a full complete stop at a stop sign. nobody stops at a stop sign, it was suspicious behavior.it’s so weird how cops spend most of their time giving our bs tickets and harassing people when they could be focusing on things that actually matter like, actual criminal things.I thought he was doing a reasonable stop. Then he said “I’m giving you a warning, please give me your papers”. And like that, a reasonable stop turns into a power trip. You made your point, let the man get on with his life.
“Why were you driving 60 in a 75?” “Because I saw you behind me and I’m terrified of stupid, unreasonable cops.”“Your behavior is consistent with someone who’s intoxicated” He saw he wasn’t intoxicated. Thats where the stop should’ve ended.
This is literally the meme of, “Do you know why I pulled you over?” “But officer, I was going the speed limit!” “Exactly. Go 10 miles over the speed limit or go back to whatever state you’re from.”One of the things that my driving instructor told me, that has stuck with me decades later is this: “The speed limit is the MAXIMUM speed you can travel, under absolutely PERFECT driving conditions”. Meaning, if it’s raining, traffic is heavily congested or any other number of factors, you should probably be going UNDER the max speed.In 1994, I learned firsthand how some police departments definitely have a “quota”. I had been severely injured in a car accident the year before and had been unable to work. The tags on my truck expired but I didn’t have the money to renew them. I was literally on my way to my first job interview in more than 10 months when I was pulled over for expired plates on the 29th of May. I explained the situation, but the cop was unsympathetic. He wrote me up for four tickets, three of which were centered around the expired tags. The fourth was for not wearing a seatbelt. I went to court and when the judge read off the tickets, one after another, everyone in the courtroom was snickering. When she was done she simply asked if I would like to speak to a deputy D.A. I said yes. He was a very nice young man who gave me a chance to explain the circumstances, and I was able to show him that I’d since renewed my tags after getting the job (despite being late to the interview). He said that three tickets for one minor offense was unreasonable and dismissed them. Then he asked, “Tell me honestly, were you wearing your seatbelt?” I said, “No, I wasn’t. “ He thanked me for my honesty and charged me $10 for that. Yeah, quotas absolutely do exist and they shouldn’t.“Where ya headed?” “That way” “Where ya coming from?” “The other way.”
It is not unlawful for the police to interrogate you during a stop or even a regular conversation. If the driver would have known at the time ; he could have stopped the interrogation cold. At anytime you can withdraw your implied consent to be interrogated without an attorney present. He was under no obligation to provide the officer details not pertaining to the traffic stop. He should have invoked the 5th.
When police ask you to sit in their patrol car passenger seat they want to better assess if they can smell alcohol and/or get you to say something incriminating, FYI.>> Had an officer do this to me and then change his tune real quick when he saw I’m in the Army. Let me go faster than someone holding a hot potato.
>> When they arrest or ticket someone on active duty, the Army for example will investigate the matter and be in contact with the police department who issued the citation.
Why do cops always ask where you’re headed or where you’re going, as if it’s any of their business or you have to justify or explain your movements to them? I love everything I’ve learned from this channel, and I’ll definitely keep in mind the myriad things I’ve learned in any future dealings I may have with law enforcement.When you hear “I just wanted to make sure you are okay” you know they are gonna harass you for no reason what so everI remember hearing a prosecutor say in court that he would prosecute someone driving 46 mph in a 45 mph speed zone. This makes us distrust the legal system if we are stopped for going too slow.The problem with “your right to silence” is the following. “So, what’s your name ?” “I’m invoking my right to silence.” Officer steps back for a second and thinks to himself, “I am going to get this fuck arrested for something before the day is done, I promise you.“Cop: “You were driving a bit slow. Tell me everything about yourself, then drop your pants”.. Most people, esp. green card holders, do not understand this. Police are intimidating; and a police officer can ruin your life. People will often just comply to avoid any resistance, and can you blame them? I can’t.Cop: “your behavior is consistent of someone who is intoxicated…” Driver: “your behavior is consistent with someone who needs more training…”Driving too slowly impedes traffic and creates a safety hazard. So stop a vehicle in that lane for several minutes. Roadside traffic stops are generally more unsafe than the behavior that caused the stop. Laws need to be changed to require officers to direct drivers to a safe location.4:38 “What brings you to this part of Texas besides that your car broke down?” Does the officer have the right to ask this question? This whole stop is very confusing.They have the right to ask whatever questions they like. They’re just hoping their victims are ignorant enough to answer.Sure he can ask…its a dumb question from any perspective even if the guy was holding up banks on the way and mowing people down GTA style it would still be one of the dumbest and most pointless questions to ask and to repeat the question…..as though it had any real value….beyond stupid.They hope by extending the encounter it may bring other issues to light that they can then investigate for a possible crime.@John Romero Yes, they can ask, but should they? Questions like this are great source of distrust between the police and the public. Questioning reasons why someone is somewhere sounds a lot like you’re not welcome there and creates atmosphere / feeling where people feel they have no right to the freedom of movement. Every time police officer is conducting their business they should also concider PR, how their behavior may affect people’s feelings and their sense of security, freedoms and privacy and ultimately the whole community.That was a Gestapo Nazi cop style question.@Banjong Philaiwan the more I think about it, the more it sounds like a visa question. So I’d be inclined to answer along the lines of “My permanent residence somewhere in Country X brings me to the State of Y” because the “business” / “pleasure” answers aren’t applicable unless you’re visiting country on a visa which is granted for the purpose of either business or pleasure. That’s pretty much my take on it although I’m not sure most cops really understand what it is they’re asking or what the question is for.Guy is driving a rental car and doesn’t want to damage it so drives carefully. What’s the problem with that, officer?I guess this officer doesn’t have elderly drivers in his area, they sometimes drive 60 in a 80 mph zone.Most good drivers take it easy when driving cars they’re not used to. This cop is a nut case.9:36 Cop: Most Texans don’t drive safely under the maximum speed limit, rather they go 80, not 60, on a 70 mph road, so I’m giving you a written warning for driving safely, instead of illegally fast. This sums up why the traffic stop was extremely unreasonable and the warning an abuse of power.I’ve been pulled over for, and I quote, driving so proper for someone in a sporty car it was worrying. He followed me for 15 minutes before pulling me over.That California license plate is perfect prey for quotas, since out of staters rarely contest tickets if they have to take time off and travel for court appearances. Easy revenue.“Do you know why I stopped you?” “Because fighting real crime is hard.”“Damned if you do and damned if you don’t!” Americans deserve better than this type of harassment!The officer actually encouraged the safe driver that he should be going 80 (10 miles over the speed limit), instead of 60 (10 miles under the max which is legal). I was waiting to see if he asked, ‘You’re suggesting I speed, officer?’“What brings you this way?” The dude literally just told you. Is it illegal to have an accent in Texas yet? This cop literally told him he should be breaking the law rather than driving under the limit.Speed limit has no determination on getting pulled over. Most States have laws concerning driving too slowly or too fast and even doing the speed limit they can get you for driving too slow/fast for conditions. What’s all that mean? No matter what there is always an excuse an officer can rely on to pull you over.I hear you on this,When it all boils down they get to go off their feelings and that’s scary,you see deputy douchebag real reason for pulling him over he thought he had a drunker..Here in San Diego, quite few years ago now, a cop hit a pedestrian, and he was speeding a little. It was explained to us serfs that speed limit laws are actually quite flexible, and the officer was doing nothing wrong.The cop is like: “Can you say something illegal? I’m low on my quota.”Man, I got so angry when he kept asking why he was there. The guy was such a sweetheart patiently repeating his answers over and overI was told by multiple NY state trooper pals that driving at the speed limit is very suspicious behavior. They want to see you going 5 to 9 mph over the limit. 10 mph over is too much. Those are strict guidelines that differ greatly from what we were all taught.This exact thing happened to me, I was doing 95 in a 100 Kph zone and the officer said that people typically go 115 or more. I actually asked, “So why did you pull me over rather than someone actually breaking the law?” He then informed me that he could write me a $200 ish ticket, I pointed out that his name would be on the ticket and that would make filing a complaint really easy. He straight up walked away without indicating that the stop was done and just hoped back im his car and drove off. It is also worth noting that as I pointed out the complaint I gestured to my dashcam which wasn’t even set up properly at the time but just the thought that he had been recorded saying he pulled over a person following the laws rather than the ones that were actually breaking them was enough for him to leave without incident. He definitely suspected me of being intoxicated as his questioning reflected that but I very clearly wasn’t and there is no point in prolonging the traffic stop just to try and pretend that he had another reason.>> Him: “I need to pick up my car because it broke down” Cop: “So why are you heading this way” Him: “To pick up my car….”>> Also Cop: But why are you here Him: ???? <Puzzled> to pick up my car from the shop COP: But why are you in my county …..>> Why are you here? Why were you vacationing? Why were you born?This is oddly close to where I live and I love it. Finally displaying how the cops act out here.“does it go on the record” -no in that case, what is the point? if there is no record of the warning, what would happen if another cop stops him for doing the exact same thing again?I love the way you breakdown these stops. I think these worse be an excellent training tool in police academies. Show the video without the voice over, send them home with some work and analysis then breakdown the stop. This as a training tactic would save lives, money and rebuild trust. Thank you.“You’re just gonna get a warning” for not disrupting traffic and driving safely. Understandable have a nice day.🙄 I hate when they say, “I’m trying to make sure you’re ok.” Where he’s going isn’t any of his MF’in business. 🙄Why was he asked to go into the cop car to receive the warning? And I am confused why this wasn’t addressed in the video?A police car tailing you with no lights is an excellent reason to slow down.When the hell does a cop ever ask you to sit in the passenger seat of his car?! I would be sus as hell and probably refuse.After watching a lot of these videos, I have learned you can not win with cops. Damned if you do and damned if you don’t.The deputy may not have been “rude” but he was definitely disrespectful.He was being a polite jerk. The man did obey and listen to the cop so that helped. Had he known his rights and laws and challenged the cop who knows. He should file a complaint. That warning shouldn’t be on his record.I agree. It almost like passive aggressiveness, whereby the words are nice but the intent isn’t. You can be politely deprived of your rights and liberty. A bit like a smiling executioner!Now I know why I’m alive. I have always treated police like they are crazy by remaining calm, not challenging them, and allowing them to overreach their authority when dealing with me, the dozen times in my life I’ve dealt with them.He said “I just have to document my stop” Then he tells the man “No, this doesnt go on the record.” Since when was documenting something for the record, not putting it on record? He lied to a man who broke no laws, gave a warning for no reason other than to protect his failed pull over attempt, and looked for other problems in a case where he should have never even made a traffic stop.Damn. Stopping the guy for no reason, interrogating him, even when he responds and explained why he is in that part of town, he keeps fishing. Even asking for the rental agreement. And they wonder why people hate police?I have seen cops ride the rear bumper of a car driving the speed limit forcing them to drive faster. Then they give them a speeding ticket. Small towns in the mid west are notorious for this kind of “law enforcement.” They watch for plates from another state and pounce on them because they know the driver won’t come back to fight the bogus charge.Although we have the right to remain silent, all I’ve ever seen on this channel when it comes to citizens remaining silent just caused more problems. I think he was in the right for cooperating with the officer.That was a prime example of an officer going on desperate fishing expedition . . . and wanting to exert his authority.The frequent braking was what caused the stop. I see this a lot around here and it’s because people drive with two feet. So you’ll see brake lights even during acceleration.This reminds me of the time I was pulled over for driving in the far left lane on the highway. Mind you, the other two lanes were being paved, so it was the only lane left. Rookie cops…Last video I watched on here was two drunk cops getting pulled over. Neither getting charged for being drunk with a firearm and the driver being allowed to go home after being taken to the station….meanwhile this guy gets pulled over and questioned for driving safely….there is something fundamentally wrong with the policing system.A warning is like getting an incorrect answer on a quiz before an exam. There’s a reason this happened; maybe you misread a question, lacked domain knowledge, or maybe you ran out of testing time, et cetera. But it gives you something specific that you and your teach can correct, so you get it right in the future. With this warning for his “driving behavior,” there is no specific item for this man to focus on in order to subsequently avoid another warning or citation. (Perhaps he’s advocating doing 80?).Audit the Audit gets an F, for failing to give this dummy cop the grade he deserves.@Ted Bell I agree the cop deserves a F and I like freedom but refer to my previous comment. The man had a out of state license plate. The cop was hoping the man was intoxicated to search the vehicle. Any large amount of cash would be seized under civil asset forfeiture.@tonyetzu He says what the cop did was questionably legal, which would be up to a court to decide. Based on past casee and current laws ata doesnt find it to be outright illegal. Just because you feel like the cop should get an F doesn’t me he generally should. Again everything was questionable and shady, but he didnt throw things like “it smells like weed” or just start searching the vehicle without consent. That’s why he got the grade.@MrPopo69zkai No need to give the cop credit just for what he didn’t do, you are too eager to give the cop credit just for not doing corrupt things, like searching the vehicle without consent, or shooting the man in the face, etc. You have low standards for Police work. I’m aware of what ATA thought of the interaction, hence my original post. My grade stands- F. Thanks for your input.@Kurt Wetzel you don’t need to be able to go lower than an f. If an officer breaks the law in any way they fail. There are degrees of success but failure is failure.@MrPopo69zkai he never should have stopped the guy for obeying the law (he wasn’t swerving or showing any other signs of impairment), he displays obvious signs of racism (“you’re not from around here boy”, questioning about his background, the prolonged questioning about where he’s going), and he repeatedly lies to the man to create fake justification and prolong the stop. Prolonging the stop is illegal as Ata states in many videos.>> @Jaime Stardust after getting a full description he asks “what brings you this way” and “what brings you to this part of texas”, “most Texans don’t go 60 they go 80”, he does everything except say “we don’t like your kind around here”During my 40 years of operating a motor vehicle across 15 states, I regularly drive under the speed limit for safety reasons but have NEVER been pulled over for it.I’ve actually been pulled over twice in this exact manner, but here in Northern Ontario, Canada. The police officer on both times suspected me of being intoxicated because I was driving slowly (~10km below the posted limit). The first time, it had been raining all afternoon in the fall, and temperatures dropped below freezing and I was driving cautiously as there was ice on the road, and I did not yet have winter tires on. The second time, it was snowing, and we were in town while hauling a very large trailer, and again just trying to be careful.I always thought being a cop would be an exciting job but the more of these I watch it must be deathly boringWhy is the cop asking so many freaking questions? None of that is his business. This is crazy.>> This is standard procedure The mission in asking questions is to find a bigger crime or to later attempt to discredit them through inconsistencies in their story in a potential court case
>> And if you don’t answer it’s suspicious. No winning>> He’s trying to find a reason to search him or the car to eventually get a ticket out of himThe cop basically asked for his whole life story Too many unnecessary questions stick to the traffic stop
“Soliciting without a permit”
“Whatever you’re soliciting…”
“you don’t even know what I’m doing?”
“what are you soliciting?”
- They wanted to arrest him and take his kids to protective so the parents would have a case with CPS , any thing to destroy a family for no reason
Shortly after our story aired on how police put LA resident Daniel Alvarez in handcuffs for a bogus traffic violation, he was pulled over again for allegedly switching lanes without signaling. In this episode of PAR, we explore the continued use of questionable traffic stops to harass people like Daniel, and what these troubling tactics say about the state of American policing across the country.
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