As Carolina Panthers Pro Bowl defensive end Greg Hardy waited in an orange jumpsuit Wednesday morning for his appearance in domestic violence court, more than 300 men gathered at the Panthers’ Bank of America Stadium for an annual breakfast to raise money and awareness for domestic violence perpetrated by men.
“Unfortunately, on this morning we’re dealing with a similar situation that is disappointing to all of us, and it again says the importance of your work in this community.” Panthers president Danny Morrison said in his welcome address in the sixth year of the stadium hosting the event. “Thank you for what you do in the community, and thank you for making a difference in this very important subject.”
Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police chief Rodney Monroe and deputy city manager Ron Kimble were keynote speakers at the 17th annual Men for Change breakfast in partnership with Safe Alliance. Kimble’s daughter, Jamie, was killed by her ex-boyfriend in 2012, and Monroe lost his sister, Eleanor, to domestic violence more than 10 years ago.
Both men choked up when retelling their stories of how they lost loved ones. Kimble’s daughter was killed just as he and the city were preparing to host the Democratic National Convention.
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Monroe made it a point to say no matter one’s prominent standing in the community, he and the CMPD would investigate any and all domestic violence claims and that no one is immune to consequences.
“It should be crystal clear that it doesn’t matter who you are,” Monroe said. “You can’t run or hide from it... I can assure you that domestic violence cases will be investigated and the split second that probable cause is established, an arrest will be made.”
Hardy was arrested Tuesday and charged with assault on a female and communicating threats. In court Wednesday, Hardy was ordered to cease contact with the victim, his girlfriend Nicole Holder.
Holder, 24, accuses Hardy, 25, of throwing her to the floor and into a bathtub, slamming her on a couch filled with assault weapons and strangling her. The incident report stated she had scratches and bruises, and her attorney said she had her arm in a sling due to an elbow injury.
Monroe said the CMPD has a mandatory arrest policy in domestic violence cases when there’s probable cause, and he has impressed that policy on his officers. If there’s furniture disturbed or broken, or clothes ruffled, “someone’s going to jail,” Monroe said.
In 2013, Charlotte had two domestic violence homicides, the fewest in the “past seven to eight years,” Monroe said. But there were 7,681 domestic violence incidents, and more than 36,000 calls for service that CMPD responded to, Monroe said. That’s the highest number in that same time frame, he said.
“It shows us that more people are taking notice and getting involved by making that call,” Monroe said. “When you hear that noise outside of your apartment or house, don’t close your doors or windows and believe that’s someone else’s problem. That’s your problem. As men, it’s problem. We all need to take a stand for that.”
Safe Alliance is a nonprofit organization that has been in the Charlotte area for more than 100 years. The organization provides support and shelter to women and children who are victims of sexual assault and domestic violence, and the shelter hosts 120-125 women and children every night.