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Editorial: Domestic Violence in Germantown Deserves Our Attention

On Monday, June 1, 24-year-old Mariam Shadé Adebayo was shot and killed in the Milestone Target parking lot, allegedly by her former boyfriend, a convicted sex offender, Donald Wayne Bricker, Jr.

Then last Tuesday, it happened again, only 2,900 feet away from the first shooting. Career criminal Johnnie Perkins shot and killed the woman he’d been living with, 34-year-old Shakina Perkins-Moody while filling up at a Germantown gas station.

The Germantown Pulse covered a third incident that took place earlier this year, when Montgomery County Police arrested 18-year-old Tre’von James after he attempted to shoot the mother of his infant child and her brother standing in the street on Summersong Lane.

According to dataMontgomery, the County’s data portal, Montgomery County Police in District Five have responded to 176 domestic violence calls in the Germantown area so far this year. That works out to one domestic violence call every 30 hours. Of those 176 calls, 17 were aggravated assault cases in which a weapon of some kind was involved.

Since 2013, there have been nine homicides in the Germantown area — one in 2013 and five in 2014, according the MCPD 2014 Annual Report. There have been three homicides in Germantown thus far in 2015, according to dataMontgomery. District Five Commander David Gillespie said all but two of the nine homicides were domestic-related homicides, which family members or the person they were living with at the time were killed.

Folks shake their heads, asking "What's happening in our town? How can we stop this?" Police remind an unsettled community that none the deaths weren't random. In most cases, victims and suspects knew each other. The implication is that the public at large is not at risk. But after the latest incident, the Chief of Police blasted the criminal justice system for allowing a known violent criminal back into the community.

“Somewhere along the line the criminal justice system has to recognize when we have an individual that has demonstrated for 20-plus years that he is engaged in violent crime, with gun convictions, arrested with guns — over and over and over again — and yet doesn’t have to face the consequences for the severity of these charges,” said Montgomery County Police Chief Thomas Manger earlier this week at a press conference about the Perkins case.

While it may be true that the general public does not have to fear for their lives as a result of the domestic-related murders, we should fear for society at large. What does it say about our culture, our society, and our community when human life is not valued?

During his press conference, The Germantown Pulse asked Chief Manger what the department was doing to combat domestic-related homicide. Chief Manger said he was proud of the progressive policies his department had implemented over the years.

“The Lethality Assessments that my officers do every time they respond to a domestic violence call have gone a long way in preventing domestic violence homicides. In fact, we’ve seen a decline in those homicides over the years,” said Manger.

The Lethality Assessment Program was created by the Maryland Network Against Domestic Violence in 2005. It is a strategy to prevent domestic violence homicides and serious injuries. It provides an easy and effective method for law enforcement and other community professionals to identify victims of domestic violence who are at the highest risk of being seriously injured or killed by their intimate partners, and immediately connect them to the local domestic violence service program.

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