Two police officers have been suspended from their positions at the New York Police Department after a pregnant woman was found murdered. The officers had been asked to check on the woman, but did not leave their cars to investigate the situation, allegedly resulting in the death.
According to the New York Post, police received a call from the sister of 22-year-old Tonie Wells, who was concerned about the safety of her sibling, whose husband may have been putting her in considerable danger. The officers drove to the location as requested, but did not leave their vehicle to actually look into Wells' safety. It's unclear what they were doing instead.
“These cops completely sh*tcanned the job,” a New York Post source said. "They didn’t even go up to the house ... If they did, they would have seen her.”
Wells' body was discovered at the bottom of a basement stairwell at her home in Crown Heights later that morning. Bruises were found on her neck, and her husband, Barry Wells, was arrested. Multiple calls were made to police before the discovery, indicating that there had been a loud argument and persistent crying coming from the couple's 2-year-old.
“Witnesses heard an argument and something falling down the stairs,” a police source said. “She was found on the stairs.”
“They seemed like a nice family,” neighbor Michelle Ruiz said of the couple. “I would see them together. She was nice. He was always pleasant. This is a very quiet block, I didn’t hear anything today. I’m still in shock. I would never think in a million years something like this would happen.”
“It’s very devastating to hear something like this could happen [...]," said another neighbor, Angela Murray.
Police had previously responded to at least one other domestic violence situation at the home, according to authorities.
The city's medical examiner has yet to determine the official cause of death in the case. Charges for Barry Wells are pending. He was questioned at the 77th Precinct station, and the case is being treated as a homicide. It is unclear if he has made a statement at this time.
“Preliminarily, the deceased female has bruising on her neck and it appears as if she was either pushed or fell down the flight of stairs leading to the basement,” Deputy Chief Michael Kemper, Commanding Officer of Detective Borough Brooklyn North, told reporters.