On the morning of March 13, NYPD Officer Alain Schaberger of the 84th Precinct responded to a domestic violence call in Boerum Hill. After a struggle with a career criminal, Schaberger was pushed over a railing, falling and breaking his neck.
could have been prevented, had stricter domestic violence penalties been in place, his father Paul Schaberger said.
"My son was not directly involved with domestic violence but because of domestic violence he's dead," Schaberger said.
A new piece of legislation in the State Senate, introduced by Senator Daniel Squadron, Assemblymember Linda B. Rosenthal and State Senator Martin J. Golden would strengthen the law against repeat abusers.
The bill will establish "aggravated domestic violence" as a felony crime for abusers who commit two or more offenses within five years.
According to a release on the new bill, the current law says only abusers who kill their victims or cause serious physical injury face felony charges, and those who repeatedly commit domestic violence offenses can only be charged with a misdemeanor, which puts them back on the streets.
Cops responded to previous domestic violence calls 12 times at the Bergen Street address where Schaberger and other officers tried to apprehend George Villanueva, who is charged with the murder of Schaberger. He had previously been arrested for acts of domestic violence on February 4 and 9 of this year, and has been arrested 28 times in his life. He was released from prison in 2005.
“By elevating repeat offenses to a felony, this bill would protect victims and prevent incidents like the one that took Officer Schaberger’s life," said Squadron.
For Officer Schaberger's father, his son's death proved that the actions of others can have serious repurcussions on unsuspecting people.
"My wife and I are two people that know that domestic violence is wrong. We are two people in a loving relationship for more than 40 years," he said. "And because of domestic violence our son is dead."
"Something needs to be done," he added.
The legislative session is ending in Albany on June 20.
"In the name of Officer Schaberger and the many others affected by domestic violence, Albany must act now to make New York a safer place," said Squadron.