MPD officer accused of pointing gun at girlfriend
Tuesday, February 04, 2014 10:00 AM
An officer with the Madison Police Department is accused of pointing a gun at his girlfriend during a domestic dispute.
Joshua A. Abbott, 32, was arrested early Monday morning by the Indiana State Police on an initial charge of felony domestic battery. He is being held in jail without bond until he can have his initial hearing, which is scheduled for 2:15 p.m. today. The exact charges he is facing will be announced then.
Jefferson County authorities received a 911 call around midnight Monday reporting domestic violence in the 500 block of Tessa Lane in Hanover. The sheriff's department contacted state police at 2:15 a.m. to handle the case.
According to court documents, Abbott's girlfriend called 911 and reported she had been battered and a firearm had been involved.
A search warrant affidavit was filed with the Scott County Circuit Court. Prosecutor Chad Lewis said this was because he wanted an independent judge to review the search warrant.
According to the search warrant affidavit, Abbott was at the Electric Lady watching the Super Bowl and drove his personal car home between 11:30 p.m. and midnight. During an interview with police, Abbott said his girlfriend looked through his phone and found text messages between Abbott and another woman.
According to the affidavit, after the girlfriend grabbed his phone, a physical struggle began between the two. The woman grabbed her keys and Abbott grabbed her wrist to keep her from leaving. She eventually freed herself and went to call 911.
At that time, according to court records, Abbott pointed a gun at the woman. She told police he also threatened to kill himself and put his gun in his mouth, according to the affidavit.
Police recovered two firearms from the residence: a department-issued Glock semi-automatic and a 9mm Beretta handgun. The affidavit does not indicate which gun was allegedly used in the altercation. Police said two children were present in the house for most of the altercation.
The affidavit indicates that both Abbott and his girlfriend admitted Abbott had grabbed a weapon at some point during the argument.
State police indicated Abbott had an odor of alcohol on his breath at the time officers were on scene. Abbott was off duty at the time of the alleged incident.
Abbott has been suspended for five days without pay as a result of the allegations, Chief Dan Thurston said this morning. That is the maximum amount of time an officer can be suspended by the chief, according to Police Merit Board rules.
The merit board is scheduled to meet Wednesday to discuss personnel. The meeting was scheduled Monday morning, hours after Abbott's arrest.
The meeting will only be for the purposes of holding an executive session. There will be no public comment and no action taken as a result of the meeting. The merit board's next public meeting will be held at 6 p.m. on Feb. 12.
Thurston said Abbott is still on probation from a June 2010 incident in which he was suspended for six months without pay or benefits.
According to police records of that incident, Abbott and his girlfriend were in an argument in the Walmart parking lot, and Abbott grabbed her arm as she tried to leave his vehicle. Police said she scratched his car with a box cutter.
Abbott approached an officer in the store and began threatening and insulting the woman. A total of five police officers from two agencies responded to Walmart in attempts to de-escalate the situation.
Abbott ignored orders from his superior officers to stay calm.
Law enforcement submitted a report to the prosecutor's office on the incident, but a special prosecutor declined to file any charges.
The following month, then-Chief John Wallace announced he would request the police merit board fire Abbott for his disciplinary issues.
An agreement proposed by Abbott's attorney was approved by the merit board by a 3-2 vote. The agreement called for a six-month suspension, followed by him serving a year as a probationary officer, followed by three years of probation. He was also required to seek professional counseling.
According to police records, other disciplinary complaints Abbott reportedly faced included:
March 17, 2010: Abbott tried to convince a fellow officer to tear up a ticket issued to his girlfriend.
March 23, 2010: Several reports were made of Abbott visiting his girlfriend's apartment while on duty. Police reported the apartment had been the subject of a drug complaint in the past.
Visiting his girlfriend while on duty at an apartment where there had been complaints of drug use
April 12, 2010: Superior officers reprimanded Abbott regarding an incident where he drove through an apartment complex parking lot in a reckless manner while chasing his girlfriend's vehicle.
April 26, 2010: The Jefferson County Sheriff's Department investigated a battery between Abbott and his girlfriend, where Abbott was the alleged victim. He later contacted the sheriff's department and requested charges be dropped.
May 9, 2010: While arguing with his wife, Abbott punched a wall, injuring his hand. His hand required surgery, and he was suspended without pay for five days as a result of the incident.
May 28, 2010: While on medical leave, Abbott was involved in an argument at a bar with his wife.
June 17, 2010: Abbott and his girlfriend were in an argument at Walmart.
Under Indiana law, anyone convicted of domestic battery may not possess a firearm.
Abbott has been with MPD since November 2006.