The City Council of Monticello, Utah, voted 5-0 today in favor of firing their Police Chief. The Police Chief, Kent Adair, has been on administrative leave for approximately a month for allowing his officers to decline to respond to a 911 call and laughing at the victim of domestic violence. The alleged perpetrator was an officer in the Monticello Police Department.
On December 2, 2015, the victim and her friend fled the area and hid in the mountains to out of fear of further violence from police sergeant Cole Young. The victim is Sergeant Young’s estranged wife. When the call reporting drunk driving and a physical attack, three officers refused to respond to investigate their fellow officer. One officer characterized the victim as “mad and pissy”. The dispatcher then contacted Chief Adair, who laughed about his officers’ refusals. He did not assign anyone to respond, nor did he respond himself. The dispatcher was also laughing about the victim’s plight in the recording of the call.
An officer from the San Juan County Sheriff’s Department finally investigated the call the following day. This investigation resulted in the arrest of Officer Young on December 3. The charges were aggravated burglary, a felony, and misdemeanor assault. He was fired from the department on December 8.
The Mayor of Monticello hired an outside agency to investigate the department’s handling of the incident. Other officers have been disciplined, and the dispatcher is has been placed on administrative leave. The mayor said this is not the first incidence of mishandled 911 calls.
Domestic Violence advocates say this is not an uncommon response to calls for assistance from victims of domestic violence. They point to the case of Jessica Lenahan, nee Gonzales, who sued the City of Castle Rock, Colorado, in the shooting death of her three daughters when police refused to respond to calls for assistance even though an order of protection was in place at the time. The United States Supreme Court ruled that the police were not required to respond and protect these victims of domestic violence. The Inter-Americas Council on Human Rights and other human rights organizations have denounced the United States for its failure to protect women and children from inter-familial violence.
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