Mississippi ranks second among states for domestic violence and ninth for the rate of females murdered by males in single victim/single offender homicides, say National Coalition Against Domestic Abuse data cited by the Hattiesburg American. Under Mississippi law, domestic violence is considered a misdemeanor – an offense that normally is punished by a fine and/or jail or an alternative punishment – for the first two offenses and a felony after the third offense.
It can escalate to a more serious offense requiring a prison sentence if a weapon is used or the victim is seriously injured or dies. Domestic violence cases are particularly dangerous for police. “When you go to a domestic dispute, you’re entering a situation that is filled with emotions and people are not paying attention to what they’re doing,” said Hattiesburg officer Jason Simon said. “It can be a very violent situation, and because of that, officer safety is on high alert. That’s why we send two officers to a domestic disturbance.”