Recently, the wife of the murdered Mark Costello who had been the Oklahoma Labor Commissioner, asked for a restraining order. Mark Costello was murdered by their son Christian Costello in Oklahoma City not long ago. Cathy Costello, the widow of Mark has asked for a protective order from the life partner of Christian.
Oklahoma County Court Judge Larry Shaw, refused the protective order citing insufficient evidence to keep Christian Costello’s life partner, Ginger R. Rogers away from Cathy Costello in the requested manner.
One of the problems with the Oklahoma laws on protective orders, or as some call them restraining orders is that the public is subjected to the ability of the Oklahoma City Police Department to accurately document reports of risk and abuse. These reports are crucial in determining what the victim or alleged victim has a right to immediate and longterm services, protection or resources.
Failure of the report to comprehensively capture the complaint of the victim in a timely and organized manner can be a matter of life or death. Failure of accurate use of coding of high or low risk circumstances can render an over response, but more often an under response for the person who is most likely to be in harm’s way from the identified aggressor.
A couple of recent famous cases in Oklahoma County Civil Court with not so good outcomes, are the 39th Street Murders and also the case of Tia Bloomer. Both are domestic violence cases which churned through multiple systems without any effective application of resources. Both of these cases, the offender was released on someone’s recognizance and someone’s mental health report. These cases, resulted in miscalculation of the profile of the risk of lethality. There are no published reports of audits and prosecution of under-responders in policy, custom or law in any capacity of Oklahoma governments, nor of contractors.
Since these latter listed events, however, Oklahoma elected official Kay Floyd, an attorney and former Judge has penned an Oklahoma lethality scale, and has then made rounds in Oklahoma, particularly in Oklahoma City regarding it’s use. Floyd developed and then taught this tool and has a history of cleaning up process and procedure related to misapplication of law. This is designed to expand the understanding of officers on the site, to improve application of protective responses and to improve content in reporting.
Did the OKCPD officers responding to Mark Costello’s death, make sufficient use of a lethality scale then or in later or prior days of Cathy Costello and all four of her children complaining of risk second to threats from Rogers or her relatives/cohorts?
Theses systems continue to fail to provide the public timely, necessary, reasonable and ready access to public health and safety standards which allow for a peaceable life. Will Cathy Costello or one of her kids be victimized or die because Oklahoma City Police Department has failed to accredit with the platinum standard service of professionalism PERF?
Oklahoma City Mayor has a “Just Report It” campaign on regarding the high levels of domestic abuse to death of women in OKC.