Before there was Mike Brown, there was Henry Davis.
At about 3am on September 20, 2009, Henry Davis was leaving a friends house. It was raining profusely and Davis, having missed his exit, pulled to the side of the road in Ferguson. Ferguson police demanded a sobriety test, which Davis refused, resulting in his arrest. Ferguson police told Davis he was being detained because there was a warrant out for his arrest, but later recanted, saying they confused him with another Henry Davis.
Davis was then led to a jail cell.
Davis refused to enter the cell, prompting one of the officers to shove him inside. According to Peter Dunne, attorney for the city of Ferguson and the three officers named in Davis’ lawsuit, Davis recoiled, then struck the officer in the nose. Davis says he put his hands up to protect himself, fearing the officers were going to kill him. The resulting altercation, which left Davis as he looks in the picture above, began when one of the officers rushed into the cell and kicked him in the head while the other officers were attempting to arrest him. After the beating, the officers added another charge to the docket: destruction of property… for bleeding on their uniforms.
Davis’ attorney asked for a copy of the tapes from the jail cell’s monitoring cameras. The first tape sent was the wrong one, and when pressed on the issue, Davis’ attorney discovered the actual tapes had already been recorded over. Eventually, Davis accepted a guilty plea and paid $3,000 in court fees as a means to avoid trial. His drunk driving charge was changed to “careless driving” but the counts for destruction of property remained. Peter Dunne said the charges were reasonable.
Last year, Davis’ lawsuit was thrown out. However, some of the officers involved in the beating couldn’t actually remember whether Davis had actually bled on them. Davis has appealed to have his lawsuit reinstated.
September 20, 2009