Bernadette Avila [pictured above] is the wife of a veteran Chicago Police Officer. Currently he is a patrol officer assigned to the 8th district.
On February 17, 2011, according to the police report: INCIDENT:Aggravated Assault Handgun.
The officer is charged, finger printed and is given an eye bond.
On February 18, 2011, at 555 W. Harrison, Bernadette Avila spends most of the day at the courthouse and is finally granted by a judge an "EMERGENCY" order of protection. The judge asks about weapons and where they are kept in the residence so that all weapons are removed when the officer is served with the court order of protection. Afterwards the information that the officer was properly served is entered in the L.E.A.D.S computer system. And if there are further problems of stalking, harassment, abuse etc Bernadette could then file police reports for violating the order of protection.
On February 19, 2011, Bernadette Avila completes the Evidentiary Abuse Affidavit and video further describing other weapons, abuse and fear for her safety. In addition, she follows the other procedures that will continue to keep her safe. She mails me an original set notarized and signed of the "EAA" and video with a copy of the protection order, police report, and a photo of her officer husband.
On Saturday, February 26, 2011, she receives six text messages from her estranged officer husband cell phone. Per the order, it states:
1. With respect to all protected persons, Respondent (that means the officer) is prohibited from committing the following: Physical Abuse; Harassment; Interference with personal liberty; Stalking;
The texts are a clear violation of the order of protection. She returns Monday morning 2/28/2011, to 555 W. Harrison and waits to meet with the Assistant State's Attorney for violation of the order of protection. I inform Bernadette to call me from court if she has any problem. Although I am not a lawyer, I did work extensively on the stalking and domestic violence laws in Illinois and was responsible for the implementation and passage. I believed that after the murder of my own mother, the wife of a Chicago Police detective, gunned down because she ended the relationship with my father, there was hope for others. I wanted to believe the law would change the landscape of how these cases were handled. I have been wrong since 1989.
At 2:30 PM , a distraught, barely audible Bernadette calls me. "The State's Attorney laughed at me, the protection had never been entered in the L.E.A.D.S computer system. And he wasn't going to help me no way, no how anyway, he didn't have time for this nonsense because you can't prove he, himself, sent the text messages." Bernadette wanted to know why she even bothered and "no one cares, I'm gonna die, I'm not protected. My husband told me this would happen, he can get away with it and he is, what am I suppose to do?" I called Sheriff Tom Dart's office to see if the court order had been served and in the system. Within a few minutes a Cook County Lieutenant informed me that he was served but, it was not entered into the system. It was being entered as we spoke on the phone.
Bernadette Avila has been beaten, threatened, stalked and controlled by her abusive, controlling and dangerous officer husband, in my opinion. If her estranged husband loses his job after over 20 plus years on the force, he may feel as though he has nothing to lose. In my opinion, she will be killed. She knows it. Wives of officer related violence know firsthand their life hangs by a thread when they do anything to cause embarrassment to their husband or boyfriend.
Bernadette's close friend Nancy Rojo, the wife of Cook County Sheriff, also attempted to get help from a system that turned a deaf ear. On September 15, 2010, court records show that Nancy Rojo filed for an order of protection against her husband. She accused Alexander of attacking her, holding a gun to her head, and threatening to kill her. Six days later, she filed for divorce; after the filing, the two agreed not to see each other, and had their orders of protection dismissed. The only reason Nancy dropped the order was because she was threatened by him. She believed if she complied that her estranged husband would finally leave her alone and be able to keep his job as a Sheriff.
Nancy Rojo filed for divorce on Sept. 21 and six days later they had their protection orders dismissed and agreed to no contact. But according to sources co-workers knew Sheriff Rojo was obsessed with her. He placed tracking devices on her vehicle with the knowledge of 1 or 2 fellow co-workers, stalked and continued to threaten her life. Although dangerous, he was too well liked by those he worked with on a daily basis. Their marriage according to family members was violent. On Oct. 12, 2010, a witnesses watched as Sheriff Alexander Rojo pulled out a handgun and, without saying a word, shot his wife three times, stood over her and fired five more bullets, according to police. He then sat down on the street curb and shot himself.
Those married to law enforcement have no place to turn for help. When they do seek assistance they are ridiculed for claiming their church attending saint of a husband with a badge and a gun has threatened to kill them. Wives and girlfriends of police officers are not believed by the very system sworn to serve and protect our streets and community.
On March 11, 2011, at 9:00 a.m. Bernadette Avila has to return to the very courtroom where she was laughed at several hours ago by a Cook State's Attorney who is suppose to be representing her in this criminal and very serious matter.
Now, a plan of action must include various steps to keep Bernadette Avila, safe, no different than I have had to do for nearly 20 years.
One day the legal system will embrace the messenger utilizing proven strategies and implement the prescription for change that will enforce the laws while at the same reducing the number of murders without anyone's ego getting bruised. As always, and in confidence, I can be contacted via email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Evidentiary Abuse Affidavit by Susan Murphy Milano from the Book "Time's Up" from Courage Network on Vimeo.