Local News

Officer Accused of Assault is On Desk Duty

Posted November 14, 1997 12:00 a.m. EST

— A Raleigh police officer is off the street after being arrested for assaulting his girlfriend. Police Chief Mitch Brown says Officer Clarence Stanley is on administrative duty pending the outcome of an internal investigation.

This is not a situation any police department wants to find itself in, but it's especially bad when the department is one that has just created a high profile Family Violence Unit. Raleigh Police say they will investigate the case thoroughly, but a lot of people are wondering how an officer sworn to protect can be accused of harming someone.

Stanley is a member of Raleigh's elite Special Enforcement Unit. He's accused of assaulting Julie Morhidge at their west Raleigh apartment by grabbing her neck, pushing her and twisting her arm.

The department's new family violence unit is investigating the case. Raleigh Police Sgt. J.K. Harrison says the department will handle this investigation as it would any other.

Since the unit was formed, Harrison says officers have a new understanding of domestic violence.

Amy Holloway is the director of a local domestic violence victim's advocacy group. She says some people are inherently at more risk than others. When you're married to someone who carries a gun for a living, she says, you're at higher risk, and those married to police officers may have a tougher time getting help.

Stanley's girlfriend, Julie Morhidge, is in Ohio, but when she returns police expect to also charge her with simple assault for her part in the incident.

Last year, the Fraternal Order of Police asked officers in a survey whether or not domestic violence was a problem in police families. Respondents said "yes" 82 percent of the time, which indicates police departments have work to do on this issue.

Editor's Note:

For many women, the hardest thing to do is walk away from an abusive relationship, but there are tips for women, who out of fear or some other reason, decide to stay in an abusive situation.

  • Know the hotline number for your local shelter.
  • During an argument, avoid the kitchen and the bathroom, two rooms in which you could be trapped.
  • Plan an escape route.
  • Have an extra car key and cash handy, in case you have to leave.
  • Tell a neighbor about the violent behavior and arrange a signal so they can call the police when something goes wrong.