Uncooperative Victims Becoming More Common

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MACON and STARKVILLE, Miss. (WCBI) – Columbus Police say the victim in Thursday’s shooting, at Leigh Mall, is not cooperating with investigators.

Law enforcement say there are many reasons behind why some victims choose not to share what they know with with police.

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Columbus officers are dealing with the frustration of trying to work with an uncooperative victim in this investigation.

Law enforcement say it’s a problem they’re running into more and more.

“It’s becoming more common now, than ever, that you have a whole bunch of victims involved in shootings, stabbings, possibly sexual assault cases, do not want to cooperate with the police for some reason,” says Macon Assistant Police Chief Davine Beck.

The Macon Police Department is going through it right now with a recent case, where the victim wouldn’t give officers his shooter’s name.

“It’s very frustrating when you don’t get help from the victim and the public and you have 3 or 4, maybe 10 people there and everybody sees the same thing and they’re not cooperating with you either and then, you’ve got the public saying you got all of these people there and they’re thinking we’re not doing our job.”

A lack of victim and witness statements is not only frustrating for police, but also for prosecutors.

“If they do not provide a statement for us, so that we can identify the suspect, prosecute the case, then we will not be able to take that case to trial, and that person will remain out in the community and that’s something that we want to prevent,” says District 16 Assistant District Attorney, Trina Davidson-Brooks.

The reasons victims choose not to cooperate vary, but investigators say nine times out of ten, they know the suspect.

“Sometimes, they are friends. Sometimes, you have other alliance facts, other things involved in it that they don’t want to come out. Most of it is because of criminal activity. They are involved in certain things together. You start investigating that and you find out another thing is going on,” says Beck.

Reluctant victims don’t stop law enforcement from moving forward.

“We still investigate the case and try to put the pieces together and it’s pretty much filling the gaps and saying, ‘yeah this happened, this kind of, you know, sounds more credible, and I kind of think that’s what happened,’ and you still go from there.”

The District Attorney’s Office and law enforcement say they understand victims might be scared, but they want victims and witnesses to know they are here to protect them and the community.

They encourage both to come forward with information because it’s their job to prevent these cases from happening again, by having the information and making an arrest.

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