Golden Voiced Ted Williams Avoids Domestic Violence Arrest

Teri Stoddard
January 11, 2011

Ted Williams, the Ohio homeless man whose deep voice made him an instant celebrity, was detained temporarily by police responding to a domestic disturbance call Monday night. Police were called to the Renaissance Hollywood Hotel & Spa in Los Angeles after Williams and his daughter, whom Massey declined to name, got into a heated argument.

Williams, 53, became well known after The Columbus Dispatch newspaper posted a youtube video of him holding a cardboard sign with a message about and speaking with his “God given golden voice.” After twenty years of homelessness due to drugs and alcohol, and over two years being clean, his voice is as smooth as ever. Williams has since recorded a commercial for Kraft Foods, done voiceovers, had several more job offers including one from the Cleveland Cavaliers basketball team, has appeared on several radio and television shows, and had an emotional reunion with his mother.

Both Williams and his daughter were taken to the L.A. Police Department Monday night and detained for less than an hour. Most likely neither realizes how fortunate they were to avoid an arrest. Twenty-one states still have mandatory arrest domestic violence laws, even though the 2005 reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act called for them to be changed to pro-arrest. In those states an arrest can happen even in the absence of physical abuse. Since California does not have a mandatory arrest law the pair were able to walk free.

Mandatory arrest laws aren’t just a bad idea; they’re dangerous. Stop Abusive and Violent Environments (SAVE), a non-profit organization that advocates evidence-based solutions to domestic violence, reports that mandatory arrest laws are responsible for an extra 600 intimate partner homicides each year. “For years, persons have known get-tough mandatory arrest policies weren’t working,” explains SAVE director Claudia Cornell, PhD.

In volatile situations an arrest can escalate the violence. And when people are arguing loudly, like Williams and his daughter did, they often just need to be separated and calmed down, which is how LAPD handled it. An arrest in these cases is unnecessary, and a waste of resources needed by true victims of physical abuse.