Indianapolis – United States Attorney Josh J. Minkler announced today that the U.S. Attorney’s Office Southern District of Indiana will be honoring Domestic Violence Awareness Month during October. Each week, the office will highlight specific Department of Justice grants that have been awarded to various agencies throughout the southern district to help combat domestic violence. The office is providing all employees with information and training on domestic violence issues within the district, and later on in the month employees will be volunteering at a community service project to benefit Thomas Gregg Neighborhood School.
“Domestic violence is such a devastating crime that reaches every area of society,” said Minkler. “The abuse comes in many forms and is directed toward every sex, culture, race, and religion. This office will continue to prosecute those who choose to inflict pain and suffering on innocent victims and we intend to bring awareness to this critical issue during Domestic Violence Awareness Month.”
The United States Attorney reaffirms the office’s commitment to prosecuting and preventing gun crime at the hands of domestic abusers. Some notable cases include:
- United States v. Brian Jones, Case No. 19-cr-258: Law enforcement responded to a 911 call for help. When they arrived at the Indianapolis location, the victim told them Brian Jones, her ex-boyfriend, broke into her house, pointed a gun at her and her minor children and threatened to kill them all. Upon arrest, law enforcement found a loaded 9 mm semiautomatic handgun on Jones. A criminal history check revealed that Jones had eight prior felony convictions and was on supervised release for Unlawful Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon out of the Southern District of Ohio. On August 7, 2020, Jones, an Ohio resident, was convicted of Unlawful Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon and was sentenced to 96 months’ imprisonment.
- United States v. Mauro Martinez-Diaz, Case No. 19-cr-49: Law enforcement responded to a domestic violence call. When they arrived at the Indianapolis location, the victim stated that Martinez-Diaz had returned from a party and became upset when she refused to cook food for him. She reported that the defendant then choked her, dragged her around the apartment by her hair, and kicked her with his feet while she was on the floor. Upon arrest, law enforcement found a loaded .40 semiautomatic handgun on the defendant. Martinez-Diaz, who is a citizen of Mexico and was found to be in the U.S. illegally, was indicted on February 20, 2019, for Unlawful Possession of a Firearm by an Alien Illegally or Unlawfully in the United States.
- United States v. Calvin Washington, Case No. 20-cr-236: Law enforcement responded to a domestic violence call. After they arrived at the Indianapolis location, Washington fled, discarding a loaded .380 caliber semiautomatic handgun in a kitchen trash can and throwing an 8-month-old baby to the ground. He was apprehended shortly thereafter. Washington, a resident of Indianapolis, was indicted on September 23, 2020, for Unlawful Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon.
Domestic Violence Awareness Month first began in 1981 as a day of unity by the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, which quickly evolved into a full week. Then in 1987, the first Domestic Violence Awareness Week took place. In 1994, Congress passed the Violence Against Women Act, which combined new provisions that hold offenders accountable and provide programs and services for victims.
The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence defines domestic violence as the willful intimidation, physical assault, battery, sexual assault, and/or other abusive behavior as part of a systematic pattern of power and control perpetrated by one intimate partner against another. It includes physical violence, sexual violence, threats, and emotional abuse. The frequency and severity of domestic violence can vary dramatically.
The CDC reports:
- 1 in 5 women and 1 in 7 men report having experienced severe physical violence from an intimate partner in their lifetime.
- 1 in 5 women and 1 in 12 men have experienced contact sexual violence by an intimate partner.
- 10% of women and 2% of men report having been stalked by an intimate partner.
If you are in crisis, contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 (SAFE) TTY 1-800-787-3224 or www.TheHotline.org