NYPD Ordered to Look Into Domestic Abuse Victims [Updated]

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Photo: Mark Peterson/Corbis

A new department memo, obtained by the New York Post, requires NYPD officers to run warrant and criminal background checks on any domestic violence accuser brave enough to call the police. "We have every right to arrest that person at that moment," said a law enforcement source. Again, that's the victim, too, not just the alleged abuser. "That is very, very frightening," said a lawyer who represents abused women. "It would absolutely dissuade people. They would not report a crime because they would fear getting locked up. It would empower the perpetrator, and there's going to be more domestic violence as a consequence, and you're endangering children." As if domestic violence weren't unreported enough already.

Update: "While it is standard practice and policy for detectives to investigate victims' backgrounds to help lead them to the victims' assailants, the NYPD — contrary to a published report — has no "must arrest" policy that applies to domestic violence victims," said NYPD spokesman Paul Browne in a statement. "In fact, the discovery of open warrants on domestic violence victims often results in their warrants being vacated."