Last Thursday, a 46-year-old police sergeant and the president of the Clackamas County police union was arrested following accusations that he assaulted his 22-year-old stepson in Clark County. The sergeant reportedly lives in Vancouver. He has apparently been with the Clackamas County sheriff's office since 1996, and his term as president for the Clackamas County Peace Officers Association ends next year.
Sources are pointing to the sergeant's apparent history of domestic violence allegations, which include a 2008 charge of fourth-degree domestic violence assault. In that incident, he was reportedly accused of striking his wife at their home north of Vancouver. The charge was dropped upon investigation, though. Another domestic violence complaint came forward last year, but no charges were pursued upon investigation by Clark County deputies.
Sources also mention the February 2010 death of the wife of an off-duty sergeant with the Clackamas County sheriff's office. The sergeant reportedly shot and killed his wife in a domestic violence dispute, along with two of her friends, and then took his own life.
The relationships that give rise to domestic violence are often complex, and it is important that thorough investigations are conducted whenever violence is alleged. The fact that somebody has been arrested and charged previously for domestic violence is not necessarily an indicator of a propensity to attacking those with whom they live.
It some cases, there is an abusive or unhealthy relationship or family situation which, for one reason or another, occasionally becomes the occasion for accusations of violence. From a defense perspective, it shouldn't automatically be assumed that a domestic violence defendant is a habitual abuser. Each defendant deserves a full defense and the chance to have their side of the story heard.
Source: The Columbian, "Oregon sheriff's sergeant who lives in Vancouver arrested," Craig Brown, May 3, 2012.
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