A Chartiers Township man has been charged by state police with beating his girlfriend over the weekend. The alleged attack was carried out in front of the couple's two-year-old child at their home.
An arrest warrant was signed on Saturday by District Judge Gary Havelka. The warrant charges Damon C Bey of Griffith Avenue, age 31, with harassment and simple assault. Bey's girlfriend told police that afternoon that Bey had become angry around midnight after she declined to give him a ride to uptown Washington. The girlfriend was at Washington Hospital when she spoke to officers.
Court papers filed by police state that the girlfriend told the suspect that she didn't want to give him a ride because he was going to be hanging out with people he shouldn't be hanging out with and doing things that he shouldn't be doing.
According to police, the couple has two children: the two-year-old who is a boy, and a daughter who is 11 months old. The girlfriend told police that she had given Bey an ultimatum, saying that he would have to live elsewhere if he "was going to do those things." That is when he attacked her.
Allegedly, Bey punched her four or five times in the head and other places. The girlfriend reported to police that the son yelled for Bey to “stop hitting mommy” during the attack. She also said she used her left hand to try to shield herself.
The girlfriend told police that she put the children in her car and drove Bey into the city so that he would not hurt her again. Then, she picked her mother up and went to the hospital. According to court papers, the girlfriend was treated for head pain and a swollen left hand.
Domestic violence is not looked upon kindly by the law. And, since both the simple assault and the harassment that Bey is charged with occurred during a domestic violence situation, the penalties he faces are more serious.
Harassment is the lesser of the charges Bey has received, as it is a summary offense. Still, he could pay fines of up to $300 and be thrown in jail for 90 days.
The simple assault charge is the one that will cause Bey the most pain. If convicted, he could face two years in prison, as well as paying fines and court costs.
As a Pittsburgh criminal defense attorney, I see many cases like this. Often, my client is innocent, and it falls to me to prove it. I don’t know the details of the case beyond what was in the paper, and it certainly doesn’t sound good for Mr. Bey, but if he gets a good lawyer, he could come out with reduced charges and lesser penalties.
This all would have gone far worse for him, of course, if there had been a protection order in place. The newspaper didn’t say if that was the case, but if it was, Mr. Bey might find himself wishing he had just stayed home that night.
That Bey chose to fight with his girlfriend in front of her children is, perhaps, less of a legal issue and more of a moral one, but the trauma those kids were faced with was not insignificant. He instilled fear and anger in them, which will come out in any number of ways. And, who’s to say they won’t get the idea that beating on a woman is okay?
I’m just glad Bey didn’t hit the kids, too, because the law takes a strong stance on the protection of children, as it should. It’s our job as adults to protect and shield kids from harm, not bring it to them.
Beating up your significant other is never the answer. There are better ways of resolving differences, and Mr. Bey and others like him would do well to learn some of them.