Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Domestic Violence doesn't just happen at home

The murder of Anicia Yankton earlier this month while she was at her place of employment is a grim reminder that domestic violence doesn't just happen at home. Anicia's estranged husband, Andreau Yankton, waited behind other shoppers at her checkout line at Publix and reportedly shot her in the face. When confronted in the parking lot, he turned the gun on himself and committed suicide.

Two previous wives had filed injunctions against Mr. Yankton in 1996 and 2002.

It makes me wonder how many people in the past might have witnessed an altercation between Mr. Yankton and one of these women.

It makes me think about what we as average citizens could/should do if we happen to witness what appears to be an abusive/violent altercation in public. I think that when confronted with a situation, most people are at a loss to know how to respond. But if we prepare ourselves ahead of time, we might be able to assist law enforcement and the courts in holding a perpetrator accountable for their behavior.

Here are some suggestions.
  1. Make sure anything you do doesn't jeopardize your safety. Violent people sometimes attack those who attempt to render aid to the victim.
  2. Call law enforcement and remain at a safe distance until they arrive. Keep an eye on the situation if possible.
  3. If the individuals are in a vehicle, get the tag number.
  4. Provide your location to the dispatcher. Answer their questions. Describe what you see.
  5. Take a picture (if practical) with your cell phone or other camera.
  6. Some cell phones can also record audio. Capture any evidence of the assault if possible.
  7. Provide a written statement to law enforcement after they have defused the situation.
  8. Be available to the investigators and the prosecutor. Be willing to testify in court.
Prosecutors are using 911 recordings, victim & crime scene photos and the testimony of witnesses to prove an assault, even when the victim declines to assist in the prosecution. These "victimless" cases are resulting in convictions, as is evidenced by an earlier blog entry on the subject.


  1. Great advice Laura!

  2. People who have injunctions against them and especially people who have more than one should be ordered to attend some kind of treatment. It is not "normal" for others to fear a person and if let go people who are violent will continue the behavior until they have hurt someone severely enough to be imprisoned. Why is this not an issue for judges issuing an injunction? Do they feel that a person with a violent history will change when an injunction against them is granted? People who are violent DO NOT CHANGE unless they are susceptible to change. I feel terribly for Ms. Yankton and her family who probably, feared this very event would happen.

  3. What can be done about this? We all complain about the system and changes that MUST take place but how can we start making real changes to the system and we need?