For Immediate Release

January 5, 2001

National Center for Women & Policing Decries Prosecution of Police Family Violence Whistle Blower, Demands Investigation of LAPD Practices

Statement of Chief Penny Harrington, Director of the National Center of Women & Policing:

Los Angeles — “The prosecution of Robert Mullally is tragic. It is outrageous that a whistle blower — who has exposed such serious abuse committed by LAPD officers and the mishandling by the department of complaints against officers involved in domestic violence — is punished while most of the men who committed these acts of violence remain officers in good standing.

“Mullally’s actions provided the impetus for the LAPD Office of the Inspector General’s investigation that documented the mishandling of police family violence cases that Mullally’s information first brought to light — proof that much good has come of Robert Mullally’s actions. The investigation initiated reforms, and some progress in ending police family violence has been made. However, based on recent accounts reported to the National Center for Women & Policing by spouses of acting LAPD officers, the reforms have not been fully implemented and domestic violence committed by police officers remains wide spread and batterers continue to suffer few consequences.

“Domestic violence committed by police officers is a serious problem. National studies show that 40% of police officer families experience violence, in contrast to 10% of families in the general population. A department’s lax nature in disciplining its officers sends a destructive message to the community causing many domestic violence crimes to go unreported, continuing the violence, and leaving victims defenseless. Nearly half of 911 calls are related to domestic violence. Without further reforms, the LAPD continues to send out officers who batter with impunity to respond to those calls.

“The mishandling by the LAPD of police family violence cases has had grave consequences as evidenced by Melba Terre Ramos, whose ex-husband, an LAPD officer, shot and killed her and her then-boyfriend in August of 1992, and then killed himself.

“The Ramos case began Robert Mullally’s journey to help other women who are victims of police family violence. Instead of a hero’s welcome, Robert Mullally is being punished. We hope that his prosecution does not send a message of discouragement to others who would expose departmental wrongdoing.

“Today, we call for a follow-up investigation into the LAPD’s ongoing mishandling of domestic violence committed by LAPD officers and for departmental reforms in the way the LAPD disciplines officers guilty of abuse.”

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