Justice 4 Sheena Morris
On January 1, 2009, Tampa, Florida resident Sheena Morris was found deceased in a Anna Maria Island hotel room in which she had been sharing with her boyfriend. Sheenas’ body was found the day after a series of calls placed to 911 - The calls for help were in reporting a Domestic Violence Disturbance between Sheena and her boyfriend who had committed threats and acts of violence against her. In addition, to Sheena’s calls, witnesses who were the occupants of an adjacent hotel room also placed a call to 911 to send responders to what they were witnessing and believed was a dangerous situation after hearing Sheena’s cries for help. Further, Sheena’s 911 call was then transferred to Hillsborough County while she further asked for assistance in protecting her private property, her apartment residence in Tampa after additional threats were made by her boyfriend against her property.
Upon the 911 calls being placed, Sheena’s boyfriend fled the scene of the domestic violence disturbance in which his location or whereabouts were never questioned or pursued by law enforcement officials for apprehension. The multiple failures of the Domestic Violence Model Policy Two set forth guidelines for Florida Law Enforcement in this case is astonishing and apprehensible.
Had the responding officers followed the set guidelines in the DVMP. Sheena Morris may be alive today. Official guidelines that were erected in order to save lives of victims of domestic abuse; failed Sheena Morris because set guidelines were not followed by the responders; starting from the beginning, from the first moment a call for help was placed up until the mishandling of the death investigation. Sheena Morris, herself had managed in her time of crisis to do exactly the protocol set forth in these guidelines in which the responding officers failed to follow; she documented the physical abuse she suffered that evening by way of taking photographic evidence of wounds she suffered on her neck. These photos were never reviewed and/or considered a pertinent part of the death investigation conducted by officials on Bradenton Beach Police Department and it was her own family who has brought to light this evidence. It states in the DVMP in:
Paragraph I of “On Scene Investigation”
B .The initial actions of the responding officer(s) should be to ensure the safety of all persons at the scene. This should include:
4. Determine the nature and extent of all injuries, including defensive wounds (e.g., on the inside of the arms or palms of the hands), pursuant to Chapter 741 F.S. *FAILED SHEENA MORRIS*
Comment: Due to the possibility of serious injury due to strangulation, officers should document any signs of strangulation including red marks, bloodshot eyes, and hoarseness in speaking *FAILED SHEENA MORRIS*
The responding officers failed in following guidelines when they did not observe, ask, inquire, document or pursue the obvious; viewable by way of plain sight, the evidence that an act of physical abuse was inflicted upon Sheena Morris. Officers discounted the reporting witnesses as well. Instead all basis of evidence was ignored, discounted including the physical wounds on her neck; solidifying the proof needed to pursue Sheena’s boyfriend, the perpetrator, that an act of Domestic Violence was committed against Sheena and that she was imminent danger as long as her boyfriend was at large and capable of returning to the scene:
FAILED SHEENA MORRIS - Pursuant to 1996 amendments to F.S. 901, a law enforcement officer can make a warrantless misdemeanor arrest when there is probable cause to believe that the person has committed an act of domestic violence, child abuse or misdemeanor battery.
FAILED SHEENA MORRIS -Sections 901.15(7)(b) and 741.29(5) F.S. provide that a law enforcement officer who acts in good faith and exercises good care in making an arrest under this subsection is immune from civil liability that otherwise might result.
FAILED SHEENA MORRIS IN MULTITUDE:
If the officers determine that a crime has been committed and that the suspect has left the scene, the officers will: 1. Conduct a search of the immediate area; 2. Obtain information from the victim and witnesses as to where the suspect might be located and check those places; 3. Prepare a complaint affidavit and complete other appropriate paperwork for referral to the State Attorney’s Office or in accordance with departmental policy (e.g., routing to an investigative unit for follow-up), if the offender cannot be located; and 4. Arrest the suspect if he is located at a later time or date.
Not only were the above life saving guidelines ignored in which the perpetrator would have been pursued by law enforcement for apprehension. The following guidelines also prove further negligence:
Tell the victim that domestic violence is a crime and that the sole responsibility for decisions regarding whether charges are filed is with the state and not the victim (FAILED SHEENA MORRIS)
I. If no arrest is made due to lack of probable cause, the victim shall be so informed and be notified that she can request to have the case reviewed by the State Attorney’s Office. FAILED SHEENA MORRIS
FAILED SHEENA MORRIS: 2. Inform the victim of the availability of a certified domestic violence center; and 3. Give the victim a copy of the “Legal Rights and Remedies Notice to Victims” brochure in English or Spanish as appropriate, which provides:
A telephone number for the local domestic violence center (the victim should also be informed of other specialized domestic violence resources available in the community),
Information about the right to file a criminal complaint with the State Attorney’s Office, and
Information about injunctions for protection.
None of the above that should have occurred in Sheena Morris’ case’ occurred.
Tragically, the principles in which govern our nation failed Sheen Morris. The very next day, Sheena Morris’ lifeless body was found in the same hotel room she fatefully placed a 911 call from the evening prior. The exact room she had been sharing with her boyfriend, the same individual who fled the scene of violence he perpetrated against her on the prior evening. Moreover, the same room where Sheena’s cries for help prompted neighboring occupants of another room to place a 911 call for a domestic disturbance. Upon discovery of Sheena’s body, the only sign of life left in the room was the presence of Sheena’s most loved companions, her two loyal dogs and most chillingly the trail of evidence left behind of the criminal acts and pleas for help that went ignored.
The Bradenton Beach Police Department proclaim they did a complete and thorough investigation of Sheena Morris’ death. The department quickly closed Sheena’s death investigation claiming a determination that manner and cause of death was a SUICIDE. It is not without merit by any competent person(s) that would bring questioning forth in reference to the departments hasty conclusion in which manner and cause of death to be determined suicide; when they have proven beyond a reasonable doubt a level of incompetence when modeling the propensity of negligence they are capable when they failed to follow the most basic protocol set forth in Domestic Violence Model Policy Two in reference to their response of the 911 calls that were placed on the prior evening. However, what is strikingly apparent between the correlation of the prior evenings events to the day Sheena Morris’s body being discovered is still the lack of failure in protocol that this department displays. Even upon the discovery of Sheena Morris deceased, her boyfriend, domestic violence perpetrator; was NEVER interviewed even after Sheena’s death. It was a long and grueling 22 days before police even bothered to interview him. It was at the continually request and urging of Sheena Morris’ family that finally forced the department to conduct an interview. The police department continued to show negligence in their proclaimed investigation by failing to even interview those closest to Sheena, including her own family, friends and the very people whom she last spoke with. The department failed to inspect her residence in Tampa , nor did they bother to review her 911 calls, let alone acknowledge to her family they were ever made. It was until family members obtained Sheena’s phone bill did they discover this information. Case closed: Suicide. ￼
FAILED SHEENA MORRIS
Record in writing or with a tape recorder (officers are encouraged to use tape recorders):
Any statements of the victim, suspect, and/or witnesses which may be categorized as exceptions to the hearsay rule (including excited utterances and spontaneous statements). Note the exact words used, using quotation marks; indicate the approximate time frame when the statements were made; and record the emotional condition of the speaker. (More information on these exceptions is contained in section IX, below.)
Any relevant statements, including self-serving ones, made by the suspect.
FAILED SHEENA MORRIS
Collect and record physical evidence and, where appropriate, take color photographs (date and initial photos, if possible) and/or videos of injuries and property damage. Request a crime scene technician, if needed. Seize plain view evidence.
FAILED SHEENA MORRIS
Officers are required by Chapter 741.29 F.S. to obtain, if possible, written or taped statements from the victim and any witnesses, including children. The officer should attempt to obtain a written or taped statement from the suspect, as well. These statements should be submitted in accordance with departmental procedure.
Almost 3 1/2 years later, no arrests have been made. irregardless of the fact that Sheena's body was exhumed with a team of Certified Level III Criminal Investigators, Forensic Pathologists and Detectives from various other Police Departments who thoroughly re-examined the entire case have all concluded that the hotel room where Sheena was discovered was a "staged crime scene". The Bradenton Beach Police Department have continually refused to re-open the case. The Medical Examiner has since changed the Manner of Death from suicide to “UNDETERMINED”
The Declaration of Independence enshrines three basic rights: all human beings have the inalienable rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. There is no absolute freedom, you are not free to murder; our society limits your freedom when it does not permit you to kill; society holds the right to limit your freedom in any manner it sees fit; freedom is whatever society decides it is. It is not society, nor any social right, that forbids you to kill—but the inalienable individual right of another man to live. This is why our society has laws. One of the purposes of the government is to uphold fundamental human rights of freedom, equality, peace and justice. Most importantly, what must be safeguarded is freedom of thought, freedom to determine your own destiny and above all the right to pursuit of happiness. To maintain peace, a government needs to enforce law and maintain order. It needs to establish an impartial judicial system that can hand out justice and punish crime. This function includes safeguarding private property and life of citizens.
Sheena Morris was derived of her inalienable right to live. The law in which governs was not acted upon; negligence failed to protect the life of Sheena Morris. A young woman who called upon the law to bring order, protect her rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. She called out to the law to protect her private property and the life of herself. The officers involved in this case at Bradenton Beach Police Department feel they are above the basic principles set forth by our founding fathers; they have failed to follow their sworn oath as law officers in which they promise:
“On my honor,
I will never betray my badge,
my integrity, my character,
or the public trust.
I will always have
the courage to hold myself
and others accountable for our actions.
I will always uphold the constitution,
my community and the agency I serve”
It is the duty of the citizens of Florida and across this nation to join together in protecting ourselves and our family members in order to prevent becoming a double victim of our society in the same manner of which Sheena Morris fate has suffered. As long as the betrayal continues to bestow the oath of honor of those involved or knowledgeable sworn officers of the Bradenton Beach Police Department; there shall forever be a lack of public trust in which those that continue to fail the community by not acting upon accountability and courage.
Honor means that one's word is given as a guarantee. Betray is defined as breaking faith with the public trust. Badge is the symbol of your office. Integrity is being the same person in both private and public life. Character means the qualities that distinguish an individual. Public trust is a charge of duty imposed in faith toward those you serve. Courage is having the strength to withstand unethical pressure, fear or danger. Accountability means that you are answerable and responsible to your oath of office. Community is the jurisdiction and citizens served.
For more details on the case and to hear the 911 call please visit www.Justice4Sheena.com
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