Domestic violence experts disagree with new report on Azana Spa shooting

CREATED May 7, 2013

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BROWN DEER - “The BDPD has adequate training and an exemplary policy on how to respond to domestic abuse calls,” said Robert Willis’ report on the Brown Deer Police Department, and how it handled more than two dozen encounters with Zina and Radcliffe Haughton throughout the years.

“Were there predictors of the final event? In hindsight I think we can say maybe,” Willis said.

Two domestic violence experts, Judith Munaker and Linda Besser, disagree with Willis, arguing that verbal abuse or threats weren’t taken as seriously as physical abuse, and there was a “lack of understanding of stalking behaviors that would trigger a stalking investigation.”

“It seems like classic domestic violence to us. For us domestic violence isn’t just physical, it’s a pattern of control and coercion,” said Carmen Petrie of the Sojourner Truth House.

Willis’ report recommends several improvements for the department, including more domestic violence training.

“I think everybody can learn from each and every situation, albeit this one, a terrible one,” said Brown Deer Police Lieutenant Lisa Kumbier.

While the report can’t erase the events of Oct. 21, 2012, it can help us move forward and try to prevent another tragedy.

“I’m not here to blame brown deer. I will say there were many opportunities that were missed for effective intervention. We need to do better as a community,” Petrie said.

The Brown Deer Police chief asked the Department of Justice to hold domestic violence training sessions. One was held last month, and more officers will get domestic violence training later this month.