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Policeman Charged with Domestic Violence Assault

Aug. 2, 2004 – Police Officer Eliezer Ramirez was advised of his rights on Monday in Territorial Court on St. Croix after being charged with third degree-assault for allegedly pointing his police pistol at a companion during an argument and then firing at least one shot into the air.
Ramirez, 24, a police officer on St. Croix for less than two years, was arrested around 10:25 a.m. Sunday and charged with domestic violence-related assault, according to Sgt. Thomas Hannah, police spokesman.
Ramirez is accused of having threatened his 22-year-old companion in Mon Bijou after an argument Saturday night at a Christiansted nightclub, and then firing his weapon into the air, Hannah said.
The assault charge is considered domestic violence because Ramirez and the woman had lived together, although it was not immediately clear if that is still the case. At a bail hearing on Sunday before Judge Edgar Ross, Ramirez was released into the custody of his father without bail, Hannah said.
At Monday's advice-of-rights hearing, Judge Darryl Donahue told Ramirez that he is not to contact the alleged victim, Assistant Attorney General Edger Christensen said. No date was set for Ramirez to be arraigned and enter a plea, Christensen said.
If found guilty, he could receive a sentence of up to five years in prison.
Ramirez was suspended without pay from the Police Department after his arrest, Hannah said.
Ramirez is the second V.I. police officer arrested in recent weeks. Officer Jerome Blyden entered a plea of not guilty on St. Thomas last week to 12 felony charges including attempted murder. Blyden is accused of having fired a pistol without provocation at a mechanic driving in front of the officer's home in December. (See the St. Thomas Source report "Policeman Pleads Not Guilty to Shooting Charges".)
Police Commissioner Elton Lewis has repeatedly reminded officers they are held to the same laws as other citizens and will be prosecuted for breaking them, Hannah said.
The U.S. Department of Justice is investigating the Police Department for possible patterns of civil rights violations, including unlawful use of force.
V.I. police officers received training earlier this year on the proper use of deadly force, Hannah said.

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