Witness: Jessica Gonzales - Victim of Police Negligence
I have come to Geneva looking for a chance to tell my story to the international community, as the United States has turned a deaf ear. I have pursued my case all the way to the end of the U.S. system of justice and have been denied an opportunity to tell my story by the nation’s Supreme Court, and there is no avenue to appeal a decision by the Supreme Court.
In 1999, I asked for and received a protective order from a local court in Colorado barring my estranged husband from any contact with me or my three daughters who were seven, eight and ten at the time. The court order also required the police to arrest my husband if he violated the order. A month after the court order was issued my estranged husband abducted my girls, and of course I immediately called the police. The police told me there was nothing they could do, and said I should call back if the girls did not turn up. I called the Castle Rock police over and over again that night. Eventually I drove to the police station to plead for help in person. The police refused to take action or enforce the court order and help find my children.
Later that night, my estranged husband drove up to the police station and opened fire with a gun he had purchased that day. He was killed in a gun battle with police. Afterwards, police officers discovered the dead bodies of my three daughters in his truck.
I filed a lawsuit, charging that the police repeatedly failed to enforce a restraining order against my violent husband, who kidnapped and murdered my three young daughters. I was trying to ensure that police departments must be held accountable for complying with mandatory arrest laws and enforcing orders of protection.
I want to make sure that no parent, anywhere, ever has to go through the pain that I went through. I want to make sure that police are ultimately accountable for doing their jobs. A restraining order is the only legal alternative offered for protection against domestic violence. If the police will take no action to enforce an order of protection then we need to know this before we go through the process and make our stalker or abuser even angrier, and maybe even incite them to murder.
I hope the Human Rights Committee -- unlike the U.S. Supreme Court -- will recognize that the U.S. government must be held accountable when it fails protect its own citizens