Coalition Emphasizes Links Between Domestic Violence and Police Officer Homicides

Baton Rouge, Louisiana – In the wake of the recent tragic murders of a pregnant woman and a police officer in Jefferson Parish, the Louisiana Coalition Against Domestic Violence (LCADV) is calling for more recognition of the connection between domestic violence and murders of police officers.

Early Friday morning, Officer Michael Louviere of the Westwego Police Department was murdered as he rendered aid to Simone Veal. Veal had been shot multiple times by her husband, Sylvester Holt, and died later of her wounds. After an hours-long standoff with police, Holt then shot and killed himself.

According to LCADV, this type of crime is all too common. Police officers face extreme danger responding to incidents of domestic violence, and many offenders who murder police officers have a long history of domestic violence. Domestic abuse is often an unrecognized red flag in the criminal histories of many who murder police officers and other first responders. In fact, domestic violence calls are the most dangerous type of call for law enforcement officers. A recent report by the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund found that domestic violence-related calls represented the highest number of fatal calls for police officers.

Mariah Wineski, interim executive director of LCADV, says close attention should be paid to the connection between domestic violence and murders of police officers. “We are saddened for the families of both victims in this case. We know that when it comes to gun violence, battered women and police officers share similar grim statistics,” Wineski said. Louisiana currently ranks second in the nation in the number of women murdered by men. Likewise, a 2015 analysis by Everytown for Gun Safety found that Louisiana ranks third in the nation for the rate of police officers killed with handguns.

“Officer safety is directly tied to victim safety,” Wineski said, emphasizing the importance of early intervention and accountability for domestic violence offenders. “Domestic violence rarely begins with a homicide. There are typically many incidents that take place over time in the context of control, isolation, and power over the victim. We can make progress toward preventing the murders of women and police officers alike by holding domestic violence offenders accountable for their actions before a homicide occurs.”

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The Louisiana Coalition Against Domestic Violence (LCADV) is a statewide network of programs, organizations, and individuals who share the goal of ending domestic violence in Louisiana. LCADV empowers its members and communities through advocacy, education, resource development, and technical assistance. LCADV is dedicated to bringing about change in our institutions, laws, politics, attitudes, and beliefs which will allow individuals to live free of violence. For more information, visit www.lcadv.org.

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