Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Handcuffing your wife during an argument will get you fired if you are a police officer.

As the Green Bay Press Gazette reports, Thomas Benike, a police officer in Ashwaubenon, Wisconsin, has been fired by the Ashwaubenon Police and Fire Commission.

Officer Benike's troubles started when he got into a dispute with his soon-to-be ex-wife regarding the location of Officer Benike's wallet.  Officer Benike could not locate find the wallet.  When he couldn't locate the wallet, Officer Benike did something that I suspect 98% of married people do in similar circumstances:  he blamed his spouse for taking or moving the wallet.  The article is unclear on what evidence—other than the fact that the wallet was not where Officer Benike thought it should be—supported the conclusion that Mrs. Benike took or moved the wallet.

The wallet contained Officer Benike's government identification card.  So, in what seems to have been a mistake, Officer Benike accused his wife of theft of government property and handcuffed her for at least ten minutes, according to a criminal complaint for felony false imprisonment and misdemeanor disorderly conduct that was subsequently filed against Officer Benike. 

According to this story from the Private Officer News Network, Officer Benike apparently handcuffed Mrs. Benike in the garage and then pretended to call the Brown County Sheriff’s Department to have a deputy come and take a theft report.  The story says that Mrs. Benike was crying and calling to her daughter for help.

After handcuffing his wife, Officer Benike evidently found his wallet.  The wallet was not, I gather, in Mrs. Benike's possession or control.  Although I cannot find a study to support this statistic, I bet 98% of married couples could have predicted that a spouse accused of taking or misplacing a lost item would not actually have anything to do with the misplaced/lost item.

Unsurprisingly, Mrs. Benike did not care for being handcuffed and being called a thief.  Especially because this accusation happened shortly after Mrs. Benike had asked Officer Benike to stop having an affair and he had refused to stop.  So, Mrs. Benike initiated criminal charges and filed for divorce.  According to the paper, a status conference in the criminal case is scheduled for July 16.  According to PNN (PONN?), if convicted, Officer Benike faces up to six years and 90 days in prison and an $11,000 fine.  However, there are also domestic violence enhancements that might apply.

The criminal charges apparently caught the the attention of the Fire and Police Commission and they held a two-day hearing at the beginning of the month.  The commission said that Officer Benike did not dispute what occurred and acknowledge that what he did violated police department rules.  However, the commission noted that Officer Benike was slow to understand that he may have lacked authority to arrest his wife.  The commission said that was “bad policing.”

According to the paper, Officer Benike was represented by Thomas J. Parins.  Given the proximity of Ashwaubenon to Green Bay, Wisconsin, Packer fans like Mr. Torvik might wonder if Mr. Parins is related to Robert J. Parins, the former president of the team.

I suppose it should go without saying that handcuffing one's spouse during an argument is a bad idea.  Yet, it apparently happens.  So, in case there is any Reader(s)™ confusion on this point, do not handcuff your spouse when you cannot find something or are otherwise having an argument. 

1 comment:

  1. I have taken to blaming Mr. Gillette for my misplaced items. This is just as satisfying as blaming my wife, but without the domestic discord.

    Also, we have a cleaning lady who comes every two weeks, so she also gets blamed for a lot of stuff.

    Then I'm also reminded of this passage from the Book of Mormon, which made quite an impression on me as it seems to imply that it is my own iniquity that causes those damn socks to disappear:

    "And now there began to be a great curse upon all the land because of the iniquity of the people, in which, if a man should lay his tool or his sword upon his shelf, or upon the place whither he would keep it, behold, upon the morrow, he could not find it, so great was the curse upon the land."



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