Dear Friend, I Really hate to ask this
When the phone rang during my husband’s 34th birthday party, I never expected my entire world would turn upside-down.
There we were, surrounded by cake and presents, laughing with his mother and grandmother, playing with our three young children…
Who could have guessed I’d now look back on that as the worst day of my life?
Please, let me back up and explain.
This picture shows me with my high school sweetheart, Dominique Perez, at a happier time — our wedding day.
As you can tell from the uniform, Dom was a United States Marine.
And after serving his country in Iraq and earning decorations (even a Purple Heart for the injuries he suffered in battle), he came home and continued serving his community as an Albuquerque police officer.
And not just any police officer. Thanks to his elite Marine training, Dom was assigned to the SWAT team.
As you can probably guess, they only get called in when things get particularly dangerous, and Dominique had seen plenty of action in his 6 years on SWAT, all without incident.
But this day was different.
You see, he was called in to support his fellow officers who were engaged in a standoff with an armed man.
The suspect’s identity was unknown at the time, but he had been camped out in a makeshift tent in the foothills behind someone’s home and the homeowner called the police.
When police first arrived on the scene, the man immediately drew two knives and began threatening police.
Frantically, he ranted and raved that “this is gonna get bad,” “I’m not going to jail tonight,” and “I’m gonna kill you.”
Wisely, the first officers backed off and called for support. Shortly thereafter, crisis intervention specialists and K-9 units arrived on scene. As you can tell, this was a dangerous situation, and taken very seriously.
A perimeter was established and hours of tense negotiations commenced.
The entire time, the suspect was pacing around in a frenzy, waving knives in each hand, and promising he was going to kill a police officer.
As negotiations were taking place, officers gathered information about the suspect’s criminal history. They soon discovered the camper had a long history of mental illness and an extensive criminal record, which included felony battery against police officers and prison guards.
Needless to say, the officers on the scene needed to come up with a plan to resolve the situation safely. To avoid using lethal force, the arrest team was going to use a “flash-bang” grenade, a stun gun, and a K-9 to detain the suspect.
Dom arrived on scene minutes before the arrest attempt began. He and a second officer were placed in positions to serve as cover, in the event lethal force was needed.
Unfortunately, neither the flash-bang nor the stun gun had any effect on the crazed man. Instead, as police moved in, he again grabbed his knives and prepared to use them.
A police dog was released and grabbed him, but could not keep its hold on the man. Another officer fired first, with two shots hitting and spinning the suspect, while Dom shot only to defend the three officers who were within feet of the madman.
My husband made a split-second decision to defend the lives of his fellow police officers.
Experts call that a “textbook” scenario of police defense.
That’s why he never imagined that, nearly a year later, he’d be hauled into court and charged with second-degree murder!
It didn’t matter that Dom had a completely unblemished record. And it didn’t matter that several experts and countless witnesses all agreed his use of lethal force was totally justified.
No, none of that stopped the District Attorney from filing second degree murder charges to jail my husband for thirty years!
Now, I don’t know if maybe this DA is caught up in the wave of anti-police hysteria that’s swirling in American cities and these charges are politically motivated.
Frankly I don’t care.
All I know is, my husband is now facing up to thirty years in prison and my children might have to grow up without their father!
Our children don’t understand it. They think their daddy is a hero.
And you know what? They’re right.
Dominique is a hero. He did the right thing that day, and he may have saved the lives of his fellow officers in the process.
But proving that in court isn’t easy.
The government has an endless legal budget to trump up charges, drown us in paperwork, and twist what really happened.
I’d been losing lots of sleep worrying about how we’d afford the representation we’ll need to prove the truth.
That’s why I am so relieved that the Law Enforcement Legal Defense Fund (LELDF) told me they’d step in and try to help.
You see, LELDF has helped free or exonerate countless police officers who have been second-guessed for making split-second, life-saving decisions in the line of fire.
And as a mother who has had to choose whether to put our modest income towards paying lawyers’ fees or providing for our family, LELDF is a Godsend.
They will help pay for our legal support and for expert witnesses who know the law on the use of force. And just their offer of help gives us hope that we desperately need right now.
But LELDF is not some government agency.
They’re actually a non-profit organization, which means all of their funding comes from private donations.
It also means I’m going to take a deep breath and ask you a very difficult question that I never expected to ask a stranger:
Honestly, any amount will help so much.
Your generous gift could truly be the difference between my husband’s freedom or him being locked up in a prison cell, alone, away from me and our children for the next 30 years.
You’ll never know how grateful I am that you took the time to read about what my family has been going through.
It’s such a comfort to know there are still good people out there who appreciate the sacrifices police officers and their families make.
Thank you so much for caring!
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2560 Huntington Ave. Suite 100, Alexandria, VA 22303 | phone: 703.807.1875
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As the title says, is this a police or public matter? After all the articles I have read concerning out of control police violence nation wide, plus the possibility of the UN taking control of all police departments, I am having a problem making a decision. It would not be fair of me or anyone who was not there at the time and witnessed with our own eyes what went down, but I have to admit I have personally experienced how local police are withdrawn when approached by a stranger just wanting to engage them in conversation. This usually happened in a restaurant and not once did they ever invite me to pull up a chair. In fact their whole demeanor was hostile and insulting to a local tax payer. Now, am I supposed to believe they have not been instructed to avoid making friends with the public? What I am having a hard time with is how does one show their respect for such a dangerous occupation if they intentionally insult me. So yes, I do believe there is something vastly different in what law officers are taught these days, and I do take personal offense at it. Within two minutes of reading this distraught wife’ letter I sent an email to my local sheriff and sent him a copy asking just what my title above states, and I will post his reply or absence of one. If public relations between them and us is to be on friendly terms then it’s as much their obligation to participate as it is ours. No one likes a grumpy or hostile cop! Lets get back to the days when cops were considered hero’s just for being one!