When Long Beach police arrived at the scene, they found a man and a woman arguing on the side of the road. It became apparent that both had been drinking, but the man had sustained injuries, which prompted the officers to start a domestic violence investigation. They began questioning the two, treating the woman as the aggressor due to the man’s injuries. However, the situation was far more complex than officers realized.
Can Police Investigate the Wrong Aggressor in Domestic Violence Cases?
It was June 3rd as a Long Beach Councilwoman and her former chief of staff were returning home from a concert. They were dating, but on this night, the two were locked in a heated argument. At one point, the councilwoman claimed the man was causing the vehicle to swerve dangerously while they were on the freeway, and she struck his arm. After that, she reportedly stopped the car on the side of the road where the argument became more heated.
Both parties have conflicting stories about this night, but the councilwoman’s tale was roughly supported by evidence uncovered later in the investigation. She claimed that after stopping the car, her former chief of staff took her keys and started making demands and threats. Eventually, the man threw her keys, iPad, and other items off the side of the road. At some point in the back-and-forth, the councilwoman shoved the man to the ground, and she claims she called the police for assistance. When officers arrived, they separated the two, began questioning them, and started treating the councilwoman as an aggressor in a domestic violence situation.
The councilwoman was shocked at being labeled the aggressor, considering she had felt trapped and had called the authorities for help. The police would later claim that officers happened upon the incident and were not called, but a video taken by the councilwoman showed her former chief of staff threatening her and holding her keys. This in conjunction with other evidence led to the district attorney not filing domestic violence charges against the councilwoman.
The police also investigated the councilwoman for driving under the influence, however, she did not test over the legal limit and the breathalyzer unit used to test her was found to be faulty. No DUI charges were filed, and the councilwoman was driven home by a friend while the former chief of staff was driven home by police.
In this situation, the evidence helped keep the councilwoman clear of charges in an incident that had spun wildly against her. However, different circumstances can yield different results, which is why it can be important for you to consult a criminal defense attorney. Experienced counsel can help you face a misconstrued situation and keep the results from becoming far worse. To learn more about your rights when it comes to criminal charges, keep following the Law Offices of Thomas Nicholas Cvietkovich.