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Milwaukee woman killed by her abuser tried to get help from law enforcement, but it failed her

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In July of 2022, Bobbie Lou Schoeffling was shot and killed in Milwaukee by her boyfriend. Schoeffling had repeatedly reported her former partner to the police, but he wasn’t taken into custody despite having a warrant out for a probation violation.

Less than two weeks before her death, Schoeffling had gone to the Milwaukee Police Department to report him. The video capturing the interaction between her and the police officer is at the center of a recent Milwaukee Journal Sentinel investigation into Schoeffling’s death and the system that failed to help her. Reporter Ashley Luthern from the Journal Sentinel shares more about the investigation.

Until we really examine each and every one of these deaths, I don't feel comfortable saying that Bobbie Lou Schoeffling's case is an anomaly.

-Ashley Luthern

Shortly before Schoeffling was killed, she went to the police to report her abuser. The Milwaukee Police officer who took the report appeared to blame Schoeffling for the circumstances. "[The officer is] saying, 'domestic violence is just a cycle.' But he's doing so in a way that experts say really appears to blame Bobby for the abuse that she is suffering. That really appears to put the onus on her. To stop the abuse to hold this person, her ex-boyfriend, accountable when she is there reporting and asking for help," says Luthern.

You can read the full investigation here.


Joy Powers is a WUWM host and producer for Lake Effect.
Robert is All Things Considered Host and Digital Producer.
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