WHAS11 reports Charles Edelen, a reserve police officer for the city of Clarksville and a Clarksville firefighter, is charged with aggravated battery, criminal recklessness and domestic battery.

WHAS11, a local ABC affiliate, states that court records show on Tuesday night in Jeffersonville, Indiana, Charles Edelen was involved in a domestic dispute with his wife and the father of her child:

Authorities said that Edelen pepper sprayed the child's father and the child and at one point Edelen had a gun in his hand.

The Clarksville firefighter and reserve police officer has since allegedly bonded out of jail.  Raw Story  reports that he is facing multiple charges, including pepper spraying the infant.

Clearly, pepper spray is extremely painful. The effects can last for nearly an hour.  As an adult, the experience is terrifying, so one can only imagine the confusion and horror that it could bring upon an infant with no possible understanding of what is happening or how long it will take to wear off.

In 1993, the US Army did a study on the effects of pepper spray where they noted that pepper spray could cause “[m]utagenic effects, carcinogenic effects, sensitization, cardiovascular and pulmonary toxicity, neurotoxicity, as well as possible human fatalities”.

Edelen is facing aggravated battery, criminal recklessness, and domestic battery. 

The National Center for Women and Policing reports that domestic violence is two to four times more common among law enforcement families than American families in general.  The organization points to two studies, indicating that as many as 40 percent of law enforcement families have a problem with domestic violence.

As the National Center for Women and Policing points out, victims of abuse at home by law enforcement are in a very unique situation:

Domestic violence is always a terrible crime, but victims of a police officer are particularly vulnerable because the officer who is abusing them: 

  • Has a gun,
  • Knows the location of battered women’s shelters, 
  • Victims of police family violence typically fear that the responding officers will side with their abuser and fail to properly investigate or document the crime. 
  • Victims often fear calling the police, because they know the case will be handled by officers who are colleagues and/or friends of their abuser. 
  • Knows how to manipulate the system to avoid penalty and/or shift blame to the victim.

Did Edelen's wife have these fears? Court proceedings and time will tell. 

The views and opinions expressed herein are those of the authors alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of Ora Media, LLC its affiliates, or its employees.

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