NYPD Deputy Chief Juanita Holmes, Formerly Abused by Husband, Rises to Top Spot of Domestic Violence Unit

Deputy Chief Juanita Holmes (left), seen at the 81st Precinct in Brooklyn, which she led with Capt. Vanessa Knight (right), is now in charge of the NYPD's Domestic Violence Unit.
Deputy Chief Juanita Holmes (left), seen at the 81st Precinct in Brooklyn, which she led with Capt. Vanessa Knight (right), is now in charge of the NYPD’s Domestic Violence Unit. (LINDA ROSIER/NEW YORK DAILY NEWS)

An NYPD chief who made headlines when she was beaten by her husband is the new head of the Domestic Violence Unit, the Daily News has learned.

Deputy Chief Juanita Holmes, 50, was picked by Police Commissioner Bill Bratton to replace Deputy Chief Kathleen O’Reilly, who was put in charge of Patrol Borough Manhattan North.

In 2011, Holmes was beaten by her husband on the front lawn of the home of an NYPD detective he accused her of having an affair with.

Holmes, who suffered broken ribs in the attack, told authorities her husband, retired Hempstead, L.I., Detective William Fowlkes, was mistaken.  Fowlkes later pleaded guilty to misdemeanor assault.  An order of protection was also issued, but he avoided jail time under the condition he attend domestic violence classes.

Sources said the incident did not play much of a role in Bratton’s decision to transfer Holmes, a 27-year veteran.

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Juanita Holmes (far left) and her sisters have all been cops. (MICHAEL SCHWARTZ/NEW YORK DAILY NEWS)

“Does being a victim in a domestic incident give you perspective that might help?” one source asked.  “Of course, but it’s not why she got the job.”

After the unseemly incident, some NYPD insiders predicted Holmes, then a deputy inspector, would not advance much further in her career.  But she returned to her Brooklyn station house, the 81st Precinct, which she ran after her predecessor was transferred following corruption allegations by whistleblower Officer Adrian Schoolcraft.

While there, she testified on the city’s behalf during a civil trial over the NYPD’s controversial use of stop-and-frisk, which she said “can be used to deter a crime that’s about to happen.”

For a time, Holmes’ second-in-command at the 81st was Capt. Vanessa Knight. It’s believed to be the first time two black women ran an NYPD precinct.  Holmes was subsequently promoted twice more and is now a deputy chief.

She took over the Domestic Violence Unit on Monday after a short stint as the No. 2 officer at the Training Bureau.

article by Rocco Parascandola via nydailynews.com

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