Almost one out of every four women in America have been a victim of domestic violence in one form of the other according to a survey conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. About 11.5 percent of men report being a victim of what is called “intimate partner violence” sometime during their lives.
Three such incidents occurred in our tiny hamlet, Helena-West Helena, during a six-day period – Dec. 27 through Jan. 1.
On New Year's Day, Helena-West Helena Police units were dispatched to the South Ashler St. regarding a domestic disturbance involving a knife. One of the first officers on the scene was Capt. Carl Vann, who stated in his report that he saw John Eaton standing in front of Allen Temple church with a small scratch across his neck and bleeding from a small cut on his right hand.
According to the report, Ophelia Gates came running toward the officer while he was still talking with Eaton. She was yelling trying to tell Vann what happened. Gates' children also approached attempting to determine if their mother was going to jail.
The report went onto say that Joe Willie Sanders told Vann that he came to Gates' residence in an effort to keep Eaton from kicking in the front door of Gates' apartment. Vann noted in his narrative that Gates and Eaton had been engaged in a physical fight because both had suffered minor cuts.
Eaton and Gates declined to press charges against each other.
In his report, Vann noted several items including a stereo were out in the yard. Gates said she was throwing them away because she was about to move out of the apartment and was not going to be able to take them with her. She said the items belonged to her and were given to her by someone that she had previously worked. She told Vann that she could not understand why Eaton was so upset about her giving away her property.
Vann's report said Eaton had his property in front of the church and was waiting for his brother to help him move it.
In her statement taken by Van, Gates stated, “I was moving out of my house because the church said they didn't want John (Eaton) there because he was an able body man that can get himself a job and pay the rent. So, I started to throw away some stuff when he got upset and started trying to fight me and slammed me down to the floor while my children watched. I grabbed a hammer and we started to wrestle over it and my hand got cut and his hand got cut.”
On Dec. 28, police intervened in a reported disturbance between Erica Ramona Williams and her brother, Derrick Williams. In his report, Officer Roosevelt Eaton said Erica Williams told the officer that her brother came into her home looking for his girlfriend. She continued saying Derrick entered her children's rooms and threw things off the dresser and moved it in order to get into a closet where he believed the girl was hiding.
Page 2 of 2 - The report says Derrick entered the bedroom where his girlfriend was hiding from him beside her bed. Derrick broke the bed when he leaped on it to grab the girl. Ms. Williams then told Eaton that Derrick dragged the girl down the hall, pulling her out of her jacket and shirt.
The report does not state whether or not Derrick Williams was taken into custody or if any charges were filed.
A third domestic disturbance occurred on New Year's Eve at the Walnut Apartments around 11:22 p.m. Officers on the scene included Wesley Smith and Aresino Jefferson.
According to police reports, Brenda McLurge told officers that her live-in boyfriend began kicking on the front door after she put him out of the residence for being violent toward her. The report stated that Jerry Calvin shut off the electric power to her residence and broke some items.
Officers took Calvin into custody as he was attempting to leave the area. The report states that Calvin was extremely hostile, combative and used excessive profanity after reportedly admitting to McLurge's allegations.
The report said Calvin told the arresting officers, “The next time you're going to have to hunt me down.”
The report does not what, if any, charges were filed against Calvin.