Are police to blame for pregnant woman's death? | The CLog

Friday, July 10, 2009

Are police to blame for pregnant woman's death?

Posted By on Fri, Jul 10, 2009 at 1:58 PM

Yumeka Caldwell, 21, was nine months pregnant and being threatened. She called Charlotte Mecklenburg Police for help.

She just happened to live in Timber Ridge Apartments, the scene of a violent shooting that killed two police officers two and a half years ago.

According to The Charlotte Observer:

Officers had responded to the apartments shortly before 2:30 a.m., after Caldwell called and said she had received threatening phone calls from[Antonio] Phifer, and that he was on his way to the apartment.

While police were talking to Caldwell at the apartment, she pointed out a vehicle in which Phifer frequently rode in. The vehicle was leaving the parking lot, and officers pursued the car and pulled it over, a short distance away.

But the other occupants of the car told police Phifer was not with them.

Moments later, several shots were heard coming from Caldwell's apartment. Officers raced back there and found Caldwell and Phifer dead.

Reading reports of this shooting, it makes you think that CMPD officers were afraid to return to the scene where two of their fellow officers died and didn't investigate Caldwell's call for help fully ir the demise of CMPD's domestic violence unit has serious hurt the community.

When Chief Rodney Monroe took over the department last year, the domestic violence unit was revamped.

In a 2008 news story, WSOC TV reported:

Chief Rodney Monroe's plan to get more officers on the streets means the Domestic Violence Unit, Juvenile Victims Unit and Youthful Offender Unit will roll their 24 detectives into one unit with 10 detectives and a sergeant.

Monroe said he's trying to move away from specialty units and wants his officers to focus on being a specialist in everything.“All too often, I think police, we build silos, all these silos,” he said. “Instead of a specialty area, we will have detectives a little more cross-trained.”Danielle Lombard, who chairs the council, said she's reserving judgment, but she understands why so many are concerned.“I think we hear the Domestic Violence Unit is being lessened to bring officers to fight crime, and I think (some fear that) may send the message domestic violence isn't a crime,” she said.But Monroe said he would never take away from a unit that is so personal for him. Domestic violence became a reality for him when his sister, a victim of domestic violence, was killed.He said the way the police treated him and his family six years ago is how he chooses to lead his department.“I was shown compassion and caring, and others deserve that same thing,” he said.

The early details of the shooting of this pregnant woman don't show compassion or caring. In March, Mecklenburg County led the state in the number of domestic violence murders with 14.

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