Archive for Sunday, January 26, 1992


January 26, 1992


Melvin Shaffer called 911 during the early morning hours of Jan. 9 because a friend of his had become angry, shoved him into some glass shelves and punched him.

About an hour later across town, a 39-year-old woman called 911 because her boyfriend had come to her East Lawrence home intoxicated and was acting erratically. During the argument, he shoved her.

Neither Shaffer nor the woman knew about a new domestic violence policy that mandates an arrest if probable cause of a crime, such as battery, exists.

Shaffer, 21, Lawrence, said he thought police might mediate between the arguing parties, but he said he was glad police arrested his friend.

ACCORDING to Shaffer's account of the evening, he and a friend had gone out to a local drinking establishment the evening of Jan. 8. At closing time, Shaffer said he could not find his friend. Shaffer returned to his own residence, located in the Easy Living mobile home park, 3323 Iowa.

But when the night on the town was over, Shaffer said his problems were just beginning.

According to police reports, Shaffer's friend showed up about 2:30 a.m. and was angry because he thought Shaffer had left him behind at the bar.

"He pushed me against the wall. He kept saying `That's not what a friend is, that's not what a friend is,'" Shaffer said.

Shaffer said at one point he was unsure whether his friend thought he was purposely left at the drinking establishment or if his friend was being irrational because he was intoxicated.

Shaffer said the man pushed him into glass shelving and punched him.

After Shaffer called police, they came to the mobile home and arrested his friend for battery. The man, who was released from jail, has not been charged in the incident.

THE EAST LAWRENCE woman, who said she did not want her name to be used in a newspaper article, said she didn't want her boyfriend to be arrested.

"When I called them (police) I told them to come get him because he was disturbing the peace," she said.

According to the woman's report, her boyfriend had come to her East Lawrence home about 3 a.m. Jan. 9. He was yelling so loud that neither she nor her children could sleep, she said.

"I figured he's not going to go to sleep or (to) anywhere else, so I called the police," she said.

When police arrived, they talked with the woman and she revealed that the man had slapped her across the face while they were arguing.

THE WOMAN said the problem was not the slap, but the fact that he was disturbing the peace. She said the charge he was arrested on, battery, was inappropriate.

"They (police officers) needed to distinguish between battery and disturbing the peace," she said.

The suspect in the case, a 31-year-old Lawrence man, has been charged with a misdemeanor count of battery. The man pleaded not guilty to the charge, and a hearing is pending in Douglas County District Court.

The woman declined to say what role, if any, she might play in the court proceedings.

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