Monument, CO — Every time a football player or an NBA star makes headlines for domestic abuse, the country goes up in arms as news outlets talk about domestic violence among these industries. Because of this phenomenon, 69 percent of Americans think that there is widespread domestic violence in the NFL. But the reality is that domestic violence among NFL players is well below the national average, coming in at just five percent. On the contrary, however, every time a police officer—someone who has sworn an oath to uphold the constitution and the law—beats their significant other, it barely registers as a blip in the media. This is in spite of some incredibly disturbing numbers when it comes to domestic violence among police.
As the following incident below illustrates, the power police wield to cover up their alleged domestic abuse is immense and outright terrifying. A 911 call was made to report a man for domestic violence earlier this month. However, because that man was the chief of police, that call was intercepted and the chief had his own officers respond.
Imagine for a moment that you are an abused spouse, hiding in another room as a monster is beating down the door to attack you. You call 911 in an attempt to get some help, but that monster hears you and intercepts the call. Instead of getting help, officers loyal to the monster show up to cover it up. The feeling of helplessness is inconceivable. Yet this is exactly what happened in Monument, Colorado last month.
Body camera footage from this incident has just been released and it shows the power alleged wife-beating cops wield even when they are seemingly caught in the act. Monument police chief Mark Owens chuckled outside his home as officers — who he called — responded to his wife's 911 call.
Last month, as Owens was allegedly attacking his wife, his wife's mother did what she was supposed to do and called 911.
"All of a sudden she says, 'Mom he just broke into the room, he broke the door. Please call 911," the caller said.
The call was directed to the El Paso County Sheriff's Office as Owens' home is in that jurisdiction. However, after the call was made, Owens intercepted it and had his Monument officers respond instead. The chief admits he did this on the body camera footage. And, the officers admit they got the call before it was even sent to dispatch.
Despite the call being out of their jurisdiction, two Monument police officers respond. Although they appeared to be apprehensive about breaking protocol like this, they still went along with the chief. They were even heard joking about the incident with the chief out front of his house.
"Another crazy police chief in Monument," the officer jokes as the chief laughs with him.
A few minutes into the incident, deputies with El Paso County show up and realize what the chief had done. The chief's minions then realize they are breaking the law by acting for the chief outside of their jurisdiction and they quickly leave.
"You're aware your address is in the county correct?" the deputy asks.
"Yes," Owens responds.
"Do you know that any crime that would occur, or alleged to occur here, would be handled by the sheriff's office?" the deputy asks.
"Absolutely," replies Owens.
On the body camera footage Owens then admits he made the call to intercept the officers.
"I called Sgt. Hudson, 'Hey is there really a call?' He says, 'Oh damn dude.'; I said, 'Alright can you head out this way please?'" admits Owens.
"Can I ask why you chose to do that?" a deputy asks.
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"Do what?" Owens says, playing dumb.
"Call Sgt. Hudson," the deputy answers.
"He needs to be involved right away from the beginning as far as my job is concerned with that. He's also a calming force with her," Owens responds.
Here we have a man accused of attacking his wife, who by all means needs to be investigated and questioned. However, instead of any investigation happening, because this man is the chief of police, he is controlling the entire scene.
Despite the 911 call and the clear case of abuse of power, Owens was never charged with a crime. Even when the El Paso deputies were leaving, Owens admitted that he was calling his officers back out to "keep the peace."
"I would caution you in your new position in Monument to -- if you're aware that you're in the county, we handle it ... Don't ever get that perception of using that influence or rank to skew something," the deputy can be heard saying.
"Oh, no I would not," Owens says, before doing exactly that. As the deputies leave, he then calls out his officers once more.
Owens was not only not arrested but was allowed to call his cops back out there again. The officers could've been used to intimidate his wife into silence or help cover up his crimes and no one cares. In fact, there has been no investigation into the incident and Owens is still the chief. His wife—the alleged victim in an unscrupulous incident of domestic violence and police conspiracy—still likely living in fear as she has no way out.
As TFTP has previously noted, a report by a government-appointed watchdog group shows that most of the time, abusive officers who commit these crimes, do so with seeming impunity. The above case is a perfect example of why that is so.
A study conducted by the Domestic Violence Task Force called Domestic Violence in the Los Angeles Police Department: How Well Does the Los Angeles Police Department Police Its Own? revealed that performance evaluations of cops with a history of domestic violence are largely unaffected. The study of the LAPD examined 91 cases in which an allegation of domestic violence was sustained against an officer.
- Over three-fourths of the time, this sustained allegation was not mentioned in the officer’s performance evaluation.
- Twenty-six of these officers (29%) were promoted, including six who were promoted within two years of the incident.
The report concluded that “employees with sustained allegations were neither barred from moving to desired positions nor transferred out of assignments that were inconsistent with the sustained allegation.”
Sadly, it is estimated that many of the abused women never come forward as they know the likely result -- which is getting shamed by the department for reporting it and potentially more abuse.
Diane Wetendorf, a specialist on police abuse, points out the most common fears when reporting police domestic abuse in her handbook:
If your abuser is an officer of the law, you may be afraid to:
- Call the police — He is the police.
- Go to a shelter — He knows where the shelters are located.
- Have him arrested — Responding officers may invoke the code of silence.
- Take him to court — It’s your word against that of an officer, and he knows the system.
- Drop the charges — You could lose any future credibility and protection.
- Seek a conviction — He will probably lose his job and retaliate against you.
Almost all of these above factors were present in the video above. These fears can make someone feel incredibly trapped and feel like there is no way out. If you or someone you know is a victim of this type of abuse we encourage you to no longer remain silent. As long as people go unpunished for their abuse, they will continue to dole it out. Leave the county, report it to the federal government, and get as far away from them as you can.