This month, a national advocacy group ranked Louisiana third in the nation for the rate of women murdered by men. Louisiana had a rate of about two such deaths per 100,000 people. Only Nevada and Alabama had worse ratings.
Kristen Rand, who directs the Violence Policy Center in Washington, D.C., pointed out violence against women too often escalates to homicide. That underscores the need to find and prosecute those responsible for early acts of violence before victims are killed.
We hope the troubling case of 19-year-old Clarissa Cobbing throws more light on this problem and helps prevent such cases in the future.
Cobbing was one of three women shot to death Sept. 10 in a house on Progress Street. Before she was killed, Cobbing had called the Baton Rouge Police Department at least three times to report incidents of her accused killer threatening her, beating her and kidnapping her toddler, according to police documents.
The man accused in the slayings, 21-year-old Courtney Williams, was not arrested in any of the events preceding the slaying because police could not find him, said Cpl. L’Jean McKneely, a police spokesman.
We must wonder how hard police were looking for a man who eluded police for nearly three weeks, despite being accused of kidnapping a child. In the alleged kidnapping incident, according to police reports, police eventually were able to get the child back from Williams through his brother. The police then returned the child to Cobbing. How all of this unfolded without Williams being located and taken into custody is unclear to us.
We hope the Baton Rouge Police Department will conduct a thorough investigation into how this case was handled — and whether anything might have been done differently.
Williams is innocent until proved guilty. But the fact that a man accused of very serious crimes, including kidnapping a toddler, was able to elude capture for so long should be troubling to everybody.
Ironically, new Baton Rouge Police Chief Dewayne White said recently he would like to create three new deputy police chief positions in his department in an effort to make the Police Department more accountable. When local residents who make allegations of violent crime end up dead, White would seem to have his work cut out for him.