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Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Police Brutality - Victim Has Class

Robert Davis, a 64 year old retired teacher, says he hasn't had a drink in 25 years due to an incident from early in his life he asks to keep private but if needed would discuss. Taking a ritual 'evening constitutional' and seeking a pack of cigarettes Mr. Davis became concerned about the curfew. “I didn’t want to violate the curfew so I was asking various people and was getting different answers.”

Mr. Davis approached a mounted officer to inquire, an officer that “who happened to be black by the way”, as Mr. Davis stated.

Mr. Davis is a black man also, a black man in a city trying to rebuild from a disaster. A city where not but a few weeks ago was full of looting by citizen criminals as well as a few rouge police officers. A place where race tensions are high with conspiracy theory rumors spreading, and fears of police targeting blacks with their ‘license to shoot’.

I would have been apprehensive and sought out a black officer myself.

Apparently while conversing with the officer, another officer “intervened”. “I told him I was not having conversation with you but the other, with the black officer”. “I thought it was unprofessional and rude, and I told him so. At that time I proceeded to cross the street at which time I was attacked, punched from behind, my back was turned, and I was thrown against the wall”.

I have watched several versions of the video, and what I have seen backs up Mr. Davis’s version. It also shows the officer verbally and physically abusing an Associated Press cameraman and producer in addition to Mr. Davis.

Mr. Davis has been charged with battery of a police officer, resisting arrest, and public intoxication, charges that Mr. Davis and long time friend Joseph Bruno, his lawyer, say are groundless.

Mr. Davis said he did not believe race was a factor; the three city police officers on the tape are white. In fact he blames the black officer his initial contact was with.

“I blame the black officer for not intervening”. “I think he sanctioned it by his behavior. I think he should be fired … suspended along with the rest of them.”

He and his attorney want to make it clear, however, that they do not blame the police as an organization. Attorney Joseph Bruno states this is “no indictment of the police department as a whole. These men are heroes. They’ve been in horrible circumstances for the last several weeks. These are a few guys who crossed the line.”

Some have questioned if this is turning into a money grab for Mr. Davis who claims that charge is “fictitious”. He asks only for the charges to be dropped, and compensation for expenses this incident has created. Mr. Bruno states clearly that “this is not a cash cow.” He explains Louisiana state law, “This is a civil state” where “limited compensation” is available. There is “no punitive damages in Louisiana.” He just wants to be returned to the state that he was before the incident.

Mr. Davis has presented himself to be an honorable man, not racist, not greedy. He has inserted statements that prove his honorability.

In an age where most people would have played the race card while trying to become the newest billionaire in the court room, Mr. Davis shows there are still people in this world that have class.

Mr. Davis, I thank you.

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