A Florida police chief says his officers made mistakes the night they were called to the home of a Daytona Beach couple for a domestic disturbance shortly before the woman was found murdered in her home earlier this month.
Daytona Beach Police Chief Michael Chitwood said recently his officers have all since undergone extra training to avoid making such mistakes in the future.
Video (shown below), recorded by Officer Brian Biddix’s body camera, and released by the Daytona Beach Police Department, shows officers interviewing both 38-year-old Milena Chiri and her husband, Johan Chiri, 44, during the April 7 incident.
WFTV News reports Milena Chiri was found dead in the couple’s apartment just hours after the video was recorded.
In the video, a visibly upset Johan Chiri can be heard saying that a man had been driving by his apartment, honking his horn. He believed, he said, that his wife was cheating on him with the man.
Milena Chiri tells Biddix, in the video, that her husband hasn’t “had his medication for, like, three days.”
According to court documents obtained by WFTV, Johan Chiri has a history of mental illness, and the Orlando Sentinel reported police had been called to the Chiri’s home about 14 times in the past.
Police now believe Johan Chiri stabbed his wife to death shortly after Biddix and other officers left their home.
Biddix had reportedly told Milena Chiri he had nothing to charge her husband with and that she should lock herself, and her daughters, in a bedroom and try to get some sleep.
Police were called back to the home not long after by the Chiri’s 12-year-old daughter who said she found her mom lying in a pool of blood with her throat cut, according to News 13.
Johan Chiri was later taken to Halifax Health Medical Center and involuntarily committed for mental health evaluation, under Florida’s Baker Act, after he was reportedly caught in nearby Holly Hill, possibly trying to jump of a bridge, The Sentinel reported.
Chitwood told News 13 that Milena Chiri’s murder need not have happened and the officers had enough reason to take her husband into custody, using the Baker Act, during the initial domestic disturbance call.
“There are all of these signs that were missed and as a result this woman is dead and we have to own that,” he said.
Chitwood also told WFTV there appeared, in the video, to be enough evidence to take Johan Chiri in on disorderly conduct charges but Biddix and other officers failed to do so. He said he was troubled by the woman’s death.
"I don't know how to say anything to those little girls for what they saw or what they went through," Chitwood said in a Wednesday interview with WFTV.
The chief said he is personally working with his officers and reviewing the body camera video with them to make sure mistakes like the ones made April 7 don’t happen again.
"Our mistakes aren't like the UPS delivery man who delivered the wrong package to the wrong house. When we make a mistake, somebody might not get up the next day," he said.
Biddix had only been recently hired by the department and was still under a probationary employment period. He has since resigned.
Johan Chiri was formally charged with his wife’s murder on Tuesday.