Police say a Florida man hit his wife multiple times after she expressed interest in going to a “swingers club.” According to a police report obtained by The Smoking Gun, 32-year-old Zacharie Nelson struck his girlfriend “three or four times in the cheek/chin with an open hand.”
Police said the incident took place around 1 a.m. on May 12 at their home in Pinellas Park, Florida. The 275-pound man and his girlfriend, who has not been named, got into an argument after she “expressed interest in going to a ‘swingers club,’” police say.
The physical altercation happened during the argument, and Nelson’s girlfriend suffered “minor redness on her face,” as per the police report. Nelson was arrested and charged with domestic battery, which is a misdemeanor.
According to The Smoking Gun, Nelson was released on his own recognizance, and a judge ordered him to wear a bracelet that monitors his alcohol consumption. Nelson is not barred from his home as his girlfriend agreed to continued contact, the outlet reported.
Some Cities Have Reported More Domestic Violence Calls Since the Start of the COVID-19 Pandemic & Some Have Reported Fewer
Domestic violence reports have increased since the start of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic. According to a report by The New York Times, during the first week of March, 383 people called a domestic violence hotline in Chicago. By the end of April, the outlet reported, 549 people called the hotline weekly. Text messages to the hotline have also increased.
The New York Times reported that Chicago police say calls related to domestic violence from January 2020 through mid-April were up 12% over the previous year. The outlet said Los Angeles and New York City have received fewer phone calls relating to domestic violence, but authorities believe that’s because victims are unable to call the police due to being in such close quarters with their abusers.
Kim Foxx, the chief prosecutor in Chicago, told the New York Times, “No one can leave. You’re literally mandating that people who probably should not be together in the same space stay.”
The Chicago Metropolitan Battered Women’s Network Said COVID-19 Has ‘Put the Pressure On’
“The pandemic has put the pressure on. No one can go stay somewhere for a few days, have family come over, have the kids go stay with grandparents. Those safety supports aren’t accessible in a meaningful way,” Chicago Metropolitan Battered Women’s Network Executive Director Amanda Pyron told the New York Times.
Since the COVID-19 lockdown started in the United States, victims have been apprehensive to leave their home and their abuser to seek shelter because of the virus, the outlet reported. In addition, the Times reported, many shelters are not accepting new guests in an effort to slow the spread of the virus, and unemployment is making it more difficult for many people to earn enough to live apart from their abusers. In April, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot made a deal with Airbnb to provide rooms for residents needing to flee violent abusers.