A Toledo police officer who investigates domestic violence cases found herself in front of a judge yesterday after she was accused of hitting her husband several times in the face and head and biting him.
Officer Sonya Newton-Butler, who has been with the department nearly 12 years, was charged with misdemeanor domestic violence after the incident Tuesday involving her husband, Paul Butler, at their South Toledo home.
Chief Mike Navarre said the couple were arguing when the incident occurred. Mr. Butler alleged his wife hit him with her hands and bit him on the leg, causing minor injuries. Court records indicate there were visible injuries on his body.
Chief Navarre said Ms. Newton-Butler has alleged that she was assaulted by her husband. However, he said, she did not exhibit any physical signs of injury. No charges have been filed against Mr. Butler.
"Our job in investigating these types of incidents is to determine who the primary aggressor was," the chief said.
"In this case, Sgt. [George] Kral determined Officer Newton-Butler was the primary aggressor and the appropriate charges were filed. She was treated like any other citizen would have been treated."
Mr. Butler, 46, reported the incident to a supervisor at the Scott Park district police station on Nebraska Avenue.
After police interviewed both individuals, they issued a warrant charging the 42-year-old officer.
She appeared yesterday with her attorney, Jay Feldstein, before Toledo Municipal Court Judge Gene Zmuda, who released her on her own recognizance.
She was ordered to have no contact with her husband of seven years, with whom she has a child.
Judge Zmuda granted permission to have a police crew accompany her to her home to remove her clothing, according to court records.
The case was continued until Tuesday for arraign-
ment and a temporary protection order hearing. An administrative investigation also is being conducted.
Mr. Feldstein said he and his client are declining comment given that there is a pending hearing and administrative investigation.
Gary Burks, first vice president of the Toledo Police Patrolman's Association, also declined comment. Mr. Butler could not be reached.
Ms. Newton-Butler has been a domestic violence officer since 1996. She has been on medical leave for at least several weeks.
A decision on whether to reassign her from the domestic violence unit will be made when the department learns she is returning to work, Chief Navarre said.
"It's disturbing when any officer, regardless of their assignment, is accused of misconduct," he said. "The incident that occurred at her residence had no correlation to her assignment in the police department."
The officer designed the Hands Are Not For Hitting program for preschoolers and has numerous letters of appreciation and thanks in her personnel file.
Chief Navarre said officers are human and they make mistakes.
"You deal with the mistakes and you move on, and we're appropriately dealing with them," he said.
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