Earlier this week, a Clinton Township man was arrested after he said that he punched his girlfriend in self-defense. The New Jersey man was taken to Hunterdon County Jail and charged with domestic violence and simple assault. While New Jersey police officers have a duty to protect citizens, they must also make sure that they are not making arrests based on assumptions and stereotypes. It is true that more men commit physical acts of domestic violence than women, but that doesn’t mean that women don’t also engage in violence, as well.
It is still unclear why police chose to arrest the man instead of the woman in this case, so it will be extremely important that the man works with an experienced domestic violence attorney to help clear his name. It is likely that many community members still hold a prejudice against men when presented with a domestic violence charge, so it may be more difficult for him to find a jury that will believe that his punch was in self-defense.
According to police reports, an officer arrived at the couple’s home in the early morning. He had received a report of a domestic violence incident. It was the man who actually called police, which means that is highly unlikely that he is lying about the punch being self-defense. Not many people will call the police to report injuries that they committed just to lie about them. The woman also refused to apply for a temporary restraining order.
It seems odd that the man was arrested after he called the police in the first place and that the officer was quick to believe the woman’s story over the man’s. While he may have seen some blood across the home, the woman’s bloody nose is not absolute proof that the boyfriend attacked her without provocation; it is just as likely that her bloody nose was caused by the punch the man says he took in self-defense.
Source: Hunterdon Review, “Clinton Township Police charge man with assaulting girlfriend,” Jan. 16, 2013