Wrongfully arrested man charged for getting blood on cops’ uniforms

by Walter Olson on August 16, 2014

Michael Daly at The Daily Beast has the flabbergasting story of Henry Davis, who was picked up by cops “for an outstanding warrant that proved to actually be for another man of the same surname, but a different middle name and Social Security number,” then beaten by several officers at the station. What happened next was truly surreal: while denying that Davis had been seriously hurt at all, though a CAT scan found he had suffered a concussion and a contemporaneous photo shows him bleeding heavily, four police officers sought to have him charged for property damage for getting blood on their uniforms. The story emerged in part through contradictions in sworn testimony. Moreover, it developed that the department did not have a practice of placing incident reports of this sort in the officers’ personnel files, making it impossible to know how often individual officers had been involved in allegations of excessive force.

The kicker: the police department was that of Ferguson, Missouri.

P.S. Here’s a court document.

Earlier on petty fines and charges as an abusive element in law enforcement. More on the Davis case from Kevin at Lowering the Bar.

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Reading – 8/16/2014 | Finance and Physics
08.16.14 at 12:02 pm
Petty Law Enforcement and Its Effect on Ferguson - Hit & Run : Reason.com
08.21.14 at 3:52 pm


1 Walter Olson 08.16.14 at 9:41 am

Some reactions on Twitter: “This is how Ferguson kept records on complaints against officers in their personnel files: It didn’t.” [@miller_stephen] “Read this and then ask yourself how much ‘no disciplinary history’ in Ferguson tells you” [@Ugarles] And that’s aside from the whole issue of credibility accorded to officers’ testimony.

2 L. C. Burgundy 08.16.14 at 10:28 am

Surprise surprise surprise.

3 Asdfasdf 08.16.14 at 4:12 pm

Is there any available documentation supporting the claims in the article, such as transcripts, indictments, or other court documents?

4 Walter Olson 08.16.14 at 10:02 pm
5 Carol Herman 08.17.14 at 1:08 am

Over at Reddit someone put in a link to a radio show where a woman caller said she was a friend of the cop’s “significant other.” And, she had heard what happened on the day it happened.

Don’t know how to make links work, but this is it:


6 gitarcarver 08.17.14 at 11:56 am


The woman says:

“He pulled up ahead of them. And then he got a call-in that there was a strong-arm robbery. And, they gave a description. And, he’s looking at them and they got something in their hands and it looks like it could be what, you know those cigars or whatever. So he goes in reverse back to them. Tries to get out of his car. They slam his door shut violently. I think he said Michael did. And, then he opened the car again. He tried to get out. He stands up.”

That directly contradicts the statement by the Chief of Police who said that Wilson was unaware of the robbery.

From CNN:

The Ferguson police officer who shot Michael Brown didn’t stop him because he was suspected in a convenience-store robbery, but because he was “walking down the middle of the street blocking traffic,” the city’s police chief said Friday.

Ferguson Police Chief Thomas Jackson — hours after documents came out labeling the 18-year-old Brown as the “primary suspect” in the store theft — told reporters the “robbery does not relate to the initial contact between the officer and Michael Brown.”


I don’t know who is telling the truth or who is being less than truthful but one thing is clear – the two statements by the Chief of Police and the friend of Wilson’s girlfriend do not match.

7 Begins 08.17.14 at 1:29 pm

The accomplice with Brown has since admitted he held up the store just minutes before the encounter with the officer.
We can picture now two hoodlums behaving toward an officer in a manner consistent with their immediate crimes.
If the officer was indeed unaware yet of the robery, then all the more likely that Browns’s behavior would have seemed aggressive and dangerous.
Petty thievery carries an assumption of risk of running into the law, with foreseeable consequences. While he might not have deserved the outcome, it was within Brown’s control to not engage in risky business.

8 gitarcarver 08.17.14 at 4:14 pm


Yes, we can picture the actions of two hoodlums leading to an encounter with law enforcement. I have a hard time foreseeing that encounter ending up in a petty thief being dead, but I understand the point.

We can also picture a police department that cannot be trusted to be open, transparent and trustworthy.

Whether Officer Wilson is guilty of a crime in the encounter and subsequent actions with Brown is still up for debate and will be decided in court.

In my opinion, however, this is one of those cases where if someone asked me to pick who I believed or who I trusted more – Brown or the Ferguson PD, I would ask for a third choice.

9 Jonathan Bailey 08.17.14 at 6:19 pm

Here’s some audio of some witnesses to the Michael Brown shooting caught off-camera. It seems like it might corroborate the police account of the sequence of events.


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