Fargo Police Chief David Todd featured in NYT Opinion Video on Gun Rights and Domestic Violence

FARGO – Fargo Police Chief David Todd has entered the gun debate on the national stage.

In a video on The New York Times’ website and Facebook page, Todd shares his views on gun rights and gun control, and discusses the death of officer Jason Moszer. “Even as a strong supporter of the Second Amendment, I have a red line. Individuals with violent records like domestic violence should never be allowed to own a gun,” Todd says in the video.

Interspersed with Todd providing his views, The New York Times video plays images and police radio recordings from the night officer Moszer was shot after Moszer and other officers responded to a domestic violence call.

“My biggest fear is losing one of my police officers,” Todd said in the video.

“Statistically, these (domestic violence calls) are the most deadly calls we get, and the trend is rising,” he added. Todd states in the video that the man who shot Moszer was a convicted felon with a history of domestic violence and who was able to legally own a gun because 10 years had passed since his release from prison.

“It does not have to be this way,” Todd said. “Domestic abusers should not be allowed to have guns.”

According to Todd, federal laws have loopholes when it comes to domestic abusers and guns and he said only 17 states require anyone with a domestic violence restraining order to turn in their firearms. On the other hand, in 2017, eight governors from both parties ignored pressure from the gun lobby and closed some loopholes, Todd said in the video.

“I understand criminals will always find ways to hurt people, but we can still take reasonable steps to prevent deadly acts by people who already have a violent record with firearms,” Todd said.

“We all want fewer people to die from domestic violence and we want our police officers to go home at the end of their shift to be with their families,” he added.

In an interview with WDAY, Todd said he agreed to record the video provided that it was done carefully. “I was not interested in being used as a pawn in a political agenda, so we worked through what my concerns were and I wanted it to be a common-sense message,” Todd said in the interview.

The New York Times contacted Todd, knowing the 2016 shooting death of officer Moszer was still fresh in the minds of people in the community.

“Gun ownership is a part of life here and that is a right we need to preserve, but there are common-sense things we need to look at when we have people convicted of violent crimes or domestic violence that perhaps they lose the right to own that gun,” Todd said in the video.

Millions of New York Times readers saw Todd’s video, and many seemed to agree with his statement.

“Watching comments, certainly more cynical outside our region, but the majority agree with what I am saying,” he told WDAY.

To view the video, click here.

ND SAVIN System to be Renovated

Original article by Daniela Hurtado (KFYR-TV) |
BISMARCK, N.D. – Most crime victims want to know the status of the case against the accused. North Dakota’s statewide automated victim information and notification system or “SAVIN” provides that kind of information.

SAVIN has seen updates in the last three months because of Marsy’s law, which is an expanded list of rights for victims approved by lawmakers last year. As a result of Marsy’s law being approved changes to SAVIN have to be made to better notify victims.

“One of the good things unarguably is that we would be able to provide a lot more information about what’s happened with court cases and with defendents, to give to people who are victims, or even people who are just be interested in the status of certain criminal cases,” said Wayne Stenehjem, North Dakota Attorney General.

The three year long renovation to the system will cost more than $800,000, two thirds of which will come from the state’s general fund and the other part from counties and cities.

“I believe it will be a great benefit to the Bismarck City Attorney’s office and provide us with an updated method of providing notification to victims of crimes,” said Jason Hammes, Bismarck Assistant City Attorney

“We now have completed the upgrade for the municipal courts. We’re rolling that out right now. So, that is something from the municipal courts all the Marsy’s Law notices can be sent automatically as soon as all of the cities have signed up for it,” said Stenehjem.

Other things included in the upgrade are juvenile court, sentencing, pardon board and some jail transfer notifications. The Attorney General says this is a long process but with three months in, the kick off of the update is marching along nicely.

Which domestic abusers will go on to commit murder? This one act offers a clue.

Article by  (Washington Post) | November 16, 2017


In 2012, while stationed at Holloman Air Force Base in New Mexico, Devin Patrick Kelley assaulted his wife and stepson. Kelley was subsequently convicted of domestic violence and released early from the Air Force.

One important detail of the attack: In addition to fracturing the child’s skull and hitting and kicking his wife, Kelley strangled her. If the particular severity of his violence had been better understood and recognized in New Mexico, 26 people, including a 17-month-old baby named Noah, might not have been killed in Sutherland Springs, Tex., this month.

Strangulation inhabits a category all its own in domestic violence as a marker of lethality. A kick, a punch, a slap, a bite — none of these, though terrible, portend homicide like strangulation does. And while the link between mass shooters and domestic violence is increasingly recognized in the public arena, articles and op-eds, strangulation as a specific sign of lethality in the context of domestic violence remains largely unknown.

The U.S. Sentencing Commission recognized strangulation as a marker of dangerousness in a 2014 report and recommended increased prison time — up to 10 years — for those convicted of it. Indeed, 45 states now recognize strangulation as a felony. New Mexico, where Kelley was convicted, is not one of them.

Kelley, as we know now, served just one year for the assault on his wife and stepchild, after which he was discharged from the Air Force for “bad conduct.”

Bad conduct is going 80 in a 55 mph zone. Bad conduct is cutting down your neighbor’s azaleas or flirting with your colleague’s wife. Bad conduct is not engaging in an act so violent that it could take the life of another human being.

Omar Mateen, the Orlando Pulse nightclub shooter, had also choked both his wives and was never charged, let alone prosecuted. He and Kelley should not have had access to guns, true enough, but more to the point, they should have been behind bars.

The list goes on. Take Cedric Ford , who in 2016 fatally shot three of his co-workers and injured 14 others in Kansas, but prior to that was charged only with misdemeanor domestic violence for choking his ex. Then there’s Esteban Santiago. He killed five and injured six in a shooting at the Fort Lauderdale Airport early this year. He, too, had been charged with a misdemeanor after strangling his ex. (Kevin Neal, who killed his wife and four other people in Northern California this past week, had a history of domestic violence, though it’s not clear if that included strangulation.)

Gael Strack, chief executive of the Training Institute on Strangulation Prevention in San Diego, says the mere presence of strangulation in a situation of domestic abuse increases the chances of homicide sevenfold. It is a clear trajectory from escalating violence to homicide, of which strangulation is the penultimate act. “Statistically, we know that once the hands are on the neck, the very next step is homicide,” Strack said. “They don’t go backwards.”

Casey Gwinn, president of the Alliance for Hope International and a co-founder of the Training Institute for Strangulation Prevention along with Strack, wrote in an email to me that Kelley “was a rage-filled domestic violence strangler and child abuser who had left every possible lethality marker for a mass shooter we know of in plain sight.”

Yet strangulation, as a signal of dangerousness, is not only overlooked by most law enforcement officers and prosecutors, it’s not always recognized by health-care workers. Symptoms can appear days or months afterward. Victims are regularly released from emergency rooms without undergoing CT scans or MRIs. Most strangulation injuries are not visible enough to photograph, and police often don’t know to look for other signs — including urination, slurred speech, redness around the eyes or scalp, a hoarse voice or trouble swallowing . As a result, injuries are played down in police reports and commonly noted as mere scratches or redness around the neck, according to a study by Strack of 300 nonfatal strangulation cases. Many victims have poor recall of events — often a result of loss of consciousness from the strangulation. In fact, a person can be strangled in less than 12 seconds and never stop breathing.

It wasn’t that Kelley operated under the radar; it was that authorities failed to see and then act on the clues he was leaving. So, while we’re offering up theories as to Kelley’s motives — he was an atheist, he was a liberal, he was mentally ill, he was a loner, he was a weirdo — we can also consider this single fact: He was a strangler.

He was a strangler whose violent act was described as “choking” in the report on his 2012 assault. Law enforcement officers may not have known about strangulation as a marker of dangerousness the night they were called to his home. Or they may not have known how to look for the signs of strangulation. Perhaps they had never been trained. Perhaps they dismissed the call as just another “domestic” in a long string of frustrating domestics. Whatever happened that night, because Kelley was not charged with nonfatal strangulation as a felony, he was not prosecuted accordingly. And because he was not prosecuted accordingly, he was not sentenced to the 10 years he could and should have gotten in prison, where he would remain today. And because he was not in prison, he was out in the world with the rest of us: a dangerous man, legally free and simmering.


Original article: https://www.washingtonpost.com/outlook/which-domestic-abusers-will-go-on-to-commit-murder-this-one-act-offers-a-clue/2017/11/16/80881ebc-c978-11e7-aa96-54417592cf72_story.html?tid=sm_fb&utm_term=.832230ad8e6e