Cat Fight or Legal Issue: Who Decides?

crime scene

As former law enforcement officer, and a proud military spouse of 12 years, I have seen some things.  But I have always thought you could count on the military police on base the same way you could count on the police on the outside.

Let me share the incident that happened on our base that is troubling me so much.About a month ago, Verna*, a neighbor and a worker at the school, assaulted and battered Kelly’s daughter.  It happened during recess in front of other children, all because Kelly’s daughter didn’t want to be friends with Verna’s daughter anymore.

Because of this incident, Verna was fired from the school where her daughter and Kelly’s daughter attend.

Upon receiving the devastating news, Kelly went to the Military Police station to file a complaint and press charges against Verna.  Unfortunately, the Military Police were unwilling to produce a police report regarding Verna’s actions, nor did they arrest her.

Even though there was enough evidence, witnesses, and witness statements to substantiate Kelly’s complaint, the duty officer called this matter “all hearsay.” He said that he didn’t believe Verna’s actions were intentional. He acted like this was a cat fight, not a genuine legal issue.

Fortunately, Kelly was able to file for a Temporary Restraining Order on her daughter’s behalf against Verna at a nearby California Superior Court.  The Judge granted the Temporary Restraining Order on the same day that Kelly filed for it.

As of today, Verna has violated the Temporary Restraining Order twice. The Military Police still have not produced a police report for Kelly.  Nor have they arrested Verna for violating the Temporary Restraining Order.

Sadly, Kelly’s daughter is suffering from anxiety attacks and depression because of this situation. Kelly has filed complaints against the military police division at this base for failing to get involved with this matter. Her complaints were filed with the jurisdictional Congressman’s office and the Inspector General’s office. The next court hearing for this case will be in April.  Then, the Judge will make a decision to make the Temporary Restraining Order against Verna, a permanent one.

I am sharing this story with you all, because I pray that no other military dependent will have to experience “chasing their tail” for the protection and safety of our God given rights that our country offers. Surely, not on a military base.

Personally, I feel like the concerns of Kelly and her daughter have not been treated with respect.  This experience makes me think twice about living aboard a U.S. Military base ever again because what if this were to happen to my child?  Well, at least I know that the Police off-base will produce a Police Report for me and make an arrest, because that’s protocol.

As I began to reflect on all of this, I am left in conclusion that our constitutional rights are waived once we all enter the gates of Military bases.  And our feelings and concerns are dismissed.

 The author of this post, a SpouseBuzz guest blogger, wishes to remain anonymous. The names of the participants have been changed in order to maintain their privacy.

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10 Comments on "Cat Fight or Legal Issue: Who Decides?"

  1. If this happened on a DODDs they have to have a record of reasons to let this person go. Therefore, any person at the school could testify against her. They have lawyers review every situation that has to do with a firing or letting go. That in itself should be enough. If not, take it higher in the MP office. MPs are known for taking their sweet time.

  2. Wow I'm really surprised the MPs kind of dropped the ball on this. It seems pretty open and shut to me.

  3. I worked at a Staff Judge Advocate (SJA) Office and while talking to a "military" lawyer at one time about cases in general he said that the Military Law was unlike the law outside of the military. I also know that no matter what crime is committed that the unit or battalion will stand behind that soldier that did wrong despite who suffers including the immediate family. I've seen it done.

  4. this is not the first time it has happened. My mother's life was threatened by another spouse at her place of work on the base. And another spouse was run over with a car (intentionally) by this other spouse's husband. This psychotic couple remained to get away with their deeds because of "legal" and "heresay" issues.

  5. NoFamilyProtection | February 16, 2013 at 7:00 pm |

    Off base I was not allowed to file a vandalism claim against my estranged husband, a member of the Army, who spray painted graffiti on my garage while he got drunk during our divorce proceedings. The civilian police told me it was "a domestic" and not eligible for charges because I had at one time allowed him on my private property. He was not required to pay to have the graffiti removed or required to pay any child support during the 2 year long divorce while he continued having an affair with another soldier. IG and JAG didn't find any problems with his activities for domestic abuse, uncontested in my OFP, and continued an affair in the war zone in Afghanistan. There are many more protections for families remaining on a base. Good luck to all.

  6. The military police do nothing out here too. I had my truck messed with twice and people's houses were being broken into and many other things happened. The MPs would show up say oh there's nothing we can do and leave. It's one of the reasons we moved off base and i feel safer now.

  7. I'm assuming that Verna and Kelly's daughter are both civilians.

    Although I'm concerned about the MPs seeming lack of concern, there is very little they can actually do in this situation. MPs on a military reservation/fort/base have the authority to arrest military personnel for violations of the UCMJ or federal law. They may be able to hold a civilian for local law enforcement types, especially if a warrant for an arrest has been issued, but they cannot arrest a civilian for a violation of state or local law. A federal magistrate may issue a warrant–and a case prosecuted by a US attorney–for a violation of the restraining order if it takes place on base, but again the local MPs cannot arrest on their own.

    The installation commander may be able to take action–barring someone from appearing on military property is something they can do–assuming that the MPs, or the victim's unit commander, brings the matter to the attention of command authority.

  8. Essentially, if the police do not wish to move forward with an investigation or the prosecuting authorities are not interested, you can always consider a civil suit.

    Civil suits have a few benefits. The standard of proof is significantly lower. Second, it is your rather than the state's suit and you can seek monetary damages.

    Assuming everything above is both true and can be demonstrated in court, then I think many civilian attorneys would be interested in this case. It looks like there are some verifiable damages so there may be a case here.

    Finally, depending on exactly where this event occurred, it may be that the MPs are not the right folks to ask. It may be that the closest municipality may have jurisdiction. That will depend on which base and exactly where on that base the event occurred. Consider getting an attorney.

  9. Military Police like to be called police but they are esentially worthless for anything more than writting speeding tickets. I also question the emotional stability of an adult that would assualt a child like she did. My advice would be to go to the post commander and demand satisfaction. You will be ignored so as soon as you leave his office or even before contact your congressman. Local police do not have jurisdiction on a federal military installation unless it is grannted by the military so going to the local cops is worthless because they cant do anything about the Battery committed against your daughter. Oddly Verna commited a Federal Felony attacking your daughter on a military installation and no one is interested in doing their job.

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