September 17, 2014 at 9:03 am EDT | by Lou Chibbaro Jr.
D.C. police officers save life of lesbian domestic violence victim
police, stabbing, MPD, Metropolitan Police Department

The recent case of three D.C. police officers saving the life of a lesbian domestic violence victim highlights the issue of intimate partner violence in the LGBT community.(Photo by Cliff; courtesy Wikimedia Commons)

Sixth District D.C. Police Officers Justin Roth, Joseph Devlin and Derek Dude were working the midnight shift on Aug. 21 when they received a radio call for a domestic violence assault in progress.

The three officers arrived on the 4400 block of C Street, S.E., minutes after other officers who arrived ahead of them saw a woman “kneeling down” over another woman who was lying on the street bleeding, according to a police affidavit filed in D.C. Superior Court.

The woman kneeling, who was later identified as suspect Maya Shelia Moore, 25, sprung to her feet and ran from the scene as the other officers chased and quickly apprehended her.

Meanwhile, Roth noticed that blood was spurting from a stab wound on the victim’s right thigh at a rhythm consistent with her heartbeat, the police affidavit says. It says the officers observed other stab wounds to the victim’s chest, neck and abdomen, but the wound to the thigh was clearly the most severe.

“Officers Devlin and Dude rendered first aid to Complainant 1 by putting a tourniquet on Complainant 1’s right thigh by using an unknown citizen’s belt,” the affidavit says.

D.C.’s Fox 5 News, which was the first to report the incident in a Sept. 8 broadcast, reported that police officials and emergency medical technicians arriving in an ambulance believe the woman would have bled to death had the officers not acted quickly to halt the bleeding from a severed artery through the use of the tourniquet.

“Thank you for saving my life and allowing me to have a birthday on Sunday,” Fox 5 quoted the victim as telling the officers.

Moore has been charged with assault with intent to kill while armed in connection with the stabbing incident. A judge has ordered that she be held in jail while awaiting trial.

The police affidavit says Moore and the victim have been in a “romantic relationship” for at least two years.

And in a development that experts on domestic violence say is not uncommon, court records show that Moore was arrested for allegedly assaulting the same victim, her girlfriend, in two separate incidents, one in June of this year and the other in September 2013.

In the June incident, the victim told police Moore struck her in the face with her fist once and hit her in the face a second time with a “closed pocket knife,” resulting in her being taken to Howard University Hospital for treatment, another police affidavit says.

“First off, I’m glad this victim was saved by these officers and the first responders, and hopefully she is safe now,” said June Crenshaw, chair of the board of directors for the Rainbow Response Coalition, a D.C.-based group that promotes public education on LGBT-related domestic violence.

“Unfortunately, statically speaking, it often takes a victim multiple times to leave an abusive relationship,” Crenshaw said. “And sometimes when a victim is attempting to leave the abuse escalates.”

Crenshaw added, “And so this particular incident is not an isolated incident. Unfortunately, these types of situations occur far too often.”

News of the D.C. lesbian victim’s close brush with death at the hands of her girlfriend comes at a time when the subject of domestic violence has been in the national spotlight following the widely reported incident between National Football League player Ray Rice and his then-fiancée, Janay Palmer.

Rice was indicted by a grand jury in New Jersey on a charge of third-degree aggravated assault against Palmer for an incident at an Atlantic City hotel on Feb. 15 of this year. The Baltimore Ravens football team initially suspended Rice for the first two games of the 2014 season.

But the release of a video taken from the hotel’s security cameras showing Rice knocking Palmer unconscious by punching her inside an elevator and dragging her limp body out into the hallway prompted the Ravens to release him from the team. The NFL quickly suspended him indefinitely, triggering a flurry of national news reports on domestic violence among sports figures and people in all walks of life.

Literature posted on the Rainbow Response Coalition’s website cites studies showing that the incidence of domestic violence among same-sex couples is about the same as it is for heterosexual couples.

The group conducted its own study of LGBT “intimate partner violence” in 2009 and found that 28 percent of the respondents participating in the study self-identified as survivors of intimate partner violence.

Crenshaw told the Washington Blade on Tuesday that a study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in 2010 found that 44 percent of lesbians and bisexual women reported being a victim of domestic violence. The same study found that 26 percent of gay men reported being victimized by domestic violence compared to 29 percent of heterosexual men who said they were victims of domestic violence.

Members of the D.C. police department’s Gay and Lesbian Liaison Unit have said calls for service for domestic violence cases make up the largest single type of call they receive in their work in the LGBT community.

Among other things, the Rainbow Response Coalition provides training and educational materials to D.C.-area police, the courts, and social service agencies on some of the issues that create problems for LGBT domestic violence victims. Crenshaw said a major problem in past years but which still continues is the fear by gay or lesbian victims of being outed if they come forward to report domestic violence.

“Intimate partner violence (IPV) is a pattern of coercive behaviors that includes one or more of the following,” a posting on the Rainbow Response Coalition’s website says. “Physical abuse or the threat of physical abuse, psychological abuse, sexual assault, progressive social isolation, deprivation, intimidation, and/or economic coercion” are all forms of intimate partner abuse, the group says on its website.

“For LGBTQ people in relationships, an abusing partner may also use the weapons of heterosexism and homophobia and threaten to ‘out’ an abused partner in a situation where the abused is not out,” the group’s posting says.

Log onto the Rainbow Response Coalition’s website for more information.

Lou Chibbaro Jr. has reported on the LGBT civil rights movement and the LGBT community for more than 30 years, beginning as a freelance writer and later as a staff reporter and currently as Senior News Reporter for the Washington Blade. He has chronicled LGBT-related developments as they have touched on a wide range of social, religious, and governmental institutions, including the White House, Congress, the U.S. Supreme Court, the military, local and national law enforcement agencies and the Catholic Church. Chibbaro has reported on LGBT issues and LGBT participation in local and national elections since 1976. He has covered the AIDS epidemic since it first surfaced in the early 1980s. Follow Lou

1 Comment
  • Crenshaw told the Washington Blade on Tuesday that a study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in 2010 found that 44 percent of lesbians and bisexual women reported being a victim of domestic violence. The same study found that 26 percent of gay men reported being victimized by domestic violence compared to 29 percent of heterosexual men who said they were victims of domestic violence.
    Very well done, MPD!

    Last week I posted to some of our east side area listservs the following advice from MPD-5D’s Lieutenant Griffin (along with links to GLLU, Rainbow Response and GLOV). That info bears repeating here…



    No one should live in fear of the person they love. If you or someone you know of is showing warning signs of abuse, know that there is help available and resources for everyone involved.


    Understand that there are different forms of abuse. Some examples are physical, sexual (a type of physical abuse), emotional, and economic/financial abuse. Recognizing abuse is the first step in getting help. Physical abuse is typically the most obvious form of abuse because outward signs are visible. Abuse that is considered psychological or emotional are not always as obvious. All forms of abuse can diminish a victim’s self-esteem, and lead to depression and a sense of helplessness. Abuse often occurs in a cycle or pattern of behavior and it becomes a very difficult situation to escape from.


    One of the biggest concerns has to do with children who grow up in households where domestic violence occurs. Children who grow up in abusive homes can also suffer many consequences from the abuse they witness within the family, even when they are not the intended target of the abuse.

    Children may blame themselves, and resort to unhealthy and potentially dangerous behaviors. They may feel guilt, confusion, fear, or depression. This may lead to difficulties at school, and in relationships with other people. If you know of a child living in a home where abuse is occurring, please notify police or someone at the following hotlines.

    For more information or to get help, please call

    The National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 (SAFE).


    Signs of a physical abuse offender:

    Damages property when angry. (punching a wall, kicking or throwing items)

    Prevents a victim from calling a family member or friend.

    Prevents a victim from leaving the residence when they want to.

    Threatens violence and/or displaying a weapon to intimidate.

    Becomes physical by pushing, slapping, or choking.

    Signs of an emotional abuse offender:

    Isolates the victim from family and friends or withholds a victim’s basic needs.

    Insults and criticizes a victim, calls them names, or embarrasses their victim in public.

    Threatens to hurt a victim emotionally by hurting others physically.

    “Stalks” a victim by demanding to know where they go and who they come into contact with.

    Completely controls matter like finances or public appearances. Shows no trust.


    The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence suggests the following strategies if someone is in an abusive relationship.

    If an argument ensues, avoid rooms without windows or a room like the kitchen where potential weapons might be found.

    Make a list of safe people you can contact. Memorize important phone numbers.

    Establish a code word or sign so that family members or friends know when to call for help.

    Think about what you will say if your partner becomes violent.

    Remember that everyone has the right the live without the constant threat of violence and abuse.


© Copyright Brown, Naff, Pitts Omnimedia, Inc. 2019. All rights reserved.