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ONLY ON 3: Police say statements not only factor in domestic violence arrests

READ MORE: ONLY ON 3: Police say statements not only factor in domestic violence arrests
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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) -- After New Hanover County Commissioner Brian Berger's arrest Friday on a domestic violence charge, both he and the alleged victim said the incident was blown out of proportion. That's led a lot of people to wonder why Berger, or anyone in a similar situation, was charged and why police have the latitude to make such an arrest.

Police say often more than just a victim's statement leads to an arrest.

"You tend to become concerned because you never know when it's going to escalate," said Det. Larry Egerton, who investigates domestic violence cases for the Wilmington Police Department. "Domestic violence starts out usually small and becomes bigger and bigger as it goes."

Domestic violence cases are all too common in Wilmington. In fact police say there are about 100 cases reported each week. Egerton says most of those calls are not about first-time offenders.

"Domestic violence escalates, and we usually don't get the call from someone until it's the sixth, seventh or eighth time there has been an incident," Egerton said. "Usually those incidents increase in velocity, and by the time we are called to an incident we often times know that it's been more than just the words, that there's probably been physical connection."

Sometimes the person who called to report the incident changes their claims when officers arrive. Egerton says that does not mean the investigation is over. In fact it is just beginning. He says the victim's call for help is often a big sign more has happened.

"Usually victims tell the truth when they are in distress, when something has just happened," he said. "They don't always see things as they think they did. Sometimes the next day they think they've seen it differently."

Many people often associate domestic violence with some sort of physical abuse, but Egerton says that's not always the case.

"Domestic violence takes all forms," he said. "It's a community issue as much as it is a personal issue. It takes forms of everything from arguments to threats to physical assaults."

Egerton says domestic violence cases are up ten percent in North Carolina this year alone. It is a problem that often leads to an arrest.

"Just because somebody is charged doesn't mean they are guilty," Egerton said. "There has to be a further investigation. The investigation is made of probable cause that it probably happened more so than it did not."

District Attorney Ben David told us despite what's been reported by other media outlets, his office does not have a policy against dropping domestic violence cases. The case can be dropped just like any other charge, but he said for charges to be dropped cases must go through an informed review.

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Very sad...

Whether Commissioner Berger is guilty of the charge is to be determined by the court. I wish the best for both him and Ms. Blaylock.

However, the incident once again sheds light on what is a major problem that cuts across our society -- it happens to men AND women, rich AND poor, ALL races/ethnicities, and ALL age groups. The report above stated the following, which to me is the most important reality about this often invisible fact about domestic and relationship violence. What is going on? How can children be raised in healthy families with this level of violence (psychological and physical)?

(From report):
Domestic violence cases are all too common in Wilmington. In fact police say there are about 100 cases reported each week. Egerton says most of those calls are not about first-time offenders.

"Domestic violence escalates, and we usually don't get the call from someone until it's the sixth, seventh or eighth time there has been an incident," Egerton said. "Usually those incidents increase in velocity, and by the time we are called to an incident we often times know that it's been more than just the words, that there's probably been physical connection."

Remember???

I'm old enough to remember when police officers couldn't arrest a man for beating his wife. That is, not until she was dead or in the hospital with serious injury.

I was married to an abuser in the early seventies, and when I'd call the police after being beaten within an inch of my life I was told, "We cannot interfere in a domestic situation". This despite the officers seeing my black eyes and busted lips.

It's been through years of hard work and activism that the domestic violence laws exist as they are now in this country. These laws that give our law enforcement officers the ability to arrest an offender, independent of the victim's testimony, are saving lives.

It's very common for a victim to change their story when the police get involved due to their fear of the offender.

Berger was arrested for suspician of domestic violence, he hasn't been found gulity yet, that's up to a judge or a jury of his peers.

Berger Case Clearly Political Move by Ben David, Nothing More

My (OPINION) is we need to investigate a little into why he was arrested on such a minor offence. Personally I would not mind seeing a little data mining in the county email records to see who is emailing who in the Sheriff's office to address Burger in such a draconian manner, in my opinion this in itself is very suspicious, add that to the eagerness with which the local DA seems to want to bring Brian up on charges. To me is seems Brian might be getting "NIFONGED." (reference to the Duke Lacrosse Players)

Next, Brian needs to begin to "FRAME" the discussions based on the actual issues the county is facing. Yes it is difficult to ignore this minutia and move on when it seems obvious to me (opinion) that there might be some efforts being made by a few other commissioners to marginalize Brian and keep to "business as usual"

Ben David, drop this case. It is political, we all know it. Shame on You Ben!!!!

Are you joking?

Please read NC Law concerning the stipulations of arrest in domestic situations. The officers did not have a choice with the evidence in front of them. Furthermore, Mr. David has no interraction with the officers during the period in which they make their determination TO ARREST.

Finally, Mr. Berger is imploding infront of everyone. He is not doing himself, his family or MOST IMPORTANTLY, the people he serves any justice. In fact, he is making a mockery of all elected positions in NHC.

Or, maybe Brian himself wrote the last comment. Sounds more like it.

He assaulted a female

In her own words, "He already got physical well, he tried to grab me."

There is also the physical evidence of a broken car-door handle and where the handle hit the car after he threw it.

Face it - Berger broke the law and needs to be held accountable. Women AND THE LAW are not going to tolerate men acting like violent a**holes any more.