DeLand officer suggested dating violence victim ‘skip town’ instead of pressing charges, review finds

Officer Illya Kryshchenko ordered to serve 80-hour unpaid suspension

DeLAND, Fla. – A DeLand police officer treated a victim of dating violence as if “she were in the wrong” and told her it was best if she left town after a violent encounter with her ex-boyfriend, according to an internal affairs investigation into the officer’s response to the October 2020 incident.

Officer Illya Kryshchenko, 25, was called to the police department lobby for a report of a battery on Oct. 6, 2020. Selena Robinette, a victim advocate for the department, had encountered the victim and her mother in the lobby as she was leaving for the day and set them up in an interview room so they could file a police report.

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Robinette said the victim was there to press charges against her ex-boyfriend after he grabbed her by the neck and hit her in the face. The woman had bruising on her face, neck and was suffering from a concussion, according to Robinette.

The internal affairs investigation was first reported by the Daytona Beach News-Journal along with body camera video of the officer’s interaction with the victim.

In the body camera video obtained by News 6, when Kryshchenko was informed of the victim waiting to make a report he asked the front desk how badly the victim was bruised up.

“She’s not dripping blood but definitely bruised up,” the person told him.

“She came over and tried to take over somebody’s husband and got beat up,” he said walking away. “It’s (expletive expletive). She did it to herself. No.”

The officer then began walking toward the interview room where he was met by the victim advocate.

The internal affairs investigation report shows the victim previously dated the man before she left for North Carolina. They continued to communicate, and he was married but told the victim they were separated, she said. When the victim returned to DeLand last October they made plans to meet at his home.

The victim’s ex asked her to go get food for them and when she returned, her abuser’s wife had pulled up and told her “that’s right (expletive), he called me over here,” and the victim’s ex then grabbed her throat and threw her to the ground, according to the victim. The man’s wife then jumped on her chest and started punching her, she told the officer of the incident.

The victim told the officer she believed she had been “set up” because other people at the home were recording the attack, but Kryshchenko did not seek to obtain the video which would prove the victim’s account, according to the investigation. He also mentioned he would get a camera to document the victim’s injuries but never did so, according to the body camera video.

“What do you want me to do?” Kryshchenko asked the victim, body camera video shows.

The victim told the officer, “I want to press charges and I want to get a restraining order,” and proceeded to explain her ex-boyfriend had a history of abusing her.

Kryshchenko questioned why this is the first time she was reporting the abuse.

“Because, I’m scared,” she said, crying. “He’s got guns and stuff.”

“Scared of what? I’m here now,” he replied.

The victim’s mother told Kryshchenko has previously threatened the victim and her children.

However, Kryshchenko told the victim it was not domestic violence and preceded to dissuade the victim from filing a report, according to the investigation.

[WARNING: Body camera video below depicts actions of domestic violence]

Kryshchenko questioned the victim’s actions when she went to the hospital and did not call the police right away. He told her he could not offer her any protection even if her ex was charged with battery because it was not domestic and suggested she leave the state. Investigators wrote in the report that based on the victim’s history with the man, it was domestic and would have been considered a dating violence crime.

“You have to skip town,” Kryshchenko told the sobbing victim, adding he is not the type to “sugar coat anything.”

“The thing with the system is that he’s going to look at the charges right, the charges are misdemeanors, I don’t even have an aggravated battery,” he told the victim. Later he told the victim her abuser “was not going to give up” and he “can’t give you protection.”

Asked again if she wants to press charges, the victim responded, “I don’t want to do it.”

After the officer left, the victim advocate took the visibly upset and beaten victim and her mother to her office and helped get her set up with a safe place to stay at a domestic violence center.

The next day, Robinette contacted her supervisor expressing concerns about how Kryshchenko handled the investigation. Following a review of Kryshchenko’s body camera video, which was concerning to those who reviewed it, an internal investigation began.

The victim advocate told investigators she has “never experienced any of our officers conduct themselves that way.”

Kryshchenko was ordered to serve an 80-hour unpaid suspension but has yet to do so, according to the department, because he is on active duty military leave. He will also have to undergo domestic violence sensitivity training.

The City of DeLand released a statement about the officer’s behavior and actions. It reads:

“The DeLand Police Department is committed to providing excellence in law enforcement and compassionate crime victim and witness services. DeLand Police officers are trained and empowered to provide empathy and comfort to citizens. The officer in this instance failed to carry out his duties, was disciplined and will be required to undergo extensive retraining before he is allowed to go back on patrol again. DeLand PD’s Victim Advocate ensured the victim, in this case, was cared for and later placed in a shelter and protected.”