Keith Davis Jr.—Shot at 44 Times by Baltimore Police
His Crime? That He Survived

February 22, 2016 | Revolution Newspaper |


From a reader:

Keith Davis Jr
Keith Davis Jr.

On June 7, 2015, Baltimore police chased, cornered in a parking garage, and fired 44 times at Keith Davis Jr. Keith would have joined the more than 1,100 people murdered by police in 2015, except for one thing—he survived and can now tell the truth about what happened.

What has been the response of Baltimore City State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby? To indict the cops who carried it out? No! Keith Davis, the victim of multiple shots to his face and body, is the one in jail.

For over eight months they have denied Davis any kind of bail. For eight months he has been denied medical treatment to remove a bullet fragment lodged in his neck, not far from his spinal cord. When it became clear that somehow Davis would survive, the State’s Attorney’s office hit him with 16 charges. On December 3, the state announced that there would be a new arraignment with additional charges, which gave them a pretext to further postpone his trial far beyond the 180 days allowed by Maryland state law. Davis’ trial is finally scheduled to begin this week, but the State’s Attorney’s office still refuses to share with the Davis legal team the statements from all of the police involved in this shooting spree. What are they hiding?

Anatomy of a Police Cover-up

On June 7, there was a car accident and cops were called to the scene. Then another car, driven by an unlicensed cab driver, Charles Holden, came careening towards the cop car. Holden says someone had gotten in his car and was attempting to rob him. When Holden’s car stopped, the man in the passenger seat leapt from the car and started to run. Keith Davis says he was in the crowd that had gathered on the corner. When the cops started chasing the guy toward them, they all ran. “I wasn’t even the only one that ran in that direction but they ended up chasing me.” The police chased him into a closed parking garage and began to fire at him from two directions.

Keith Davis in the hospital.

Keith Davis Jr. in the hospital soon after he was shot by police. He arrived in critical condition and received emergency surgery. While in the hospital, he was chained to his bed. Once out of critical condition, Keith was taken to jail and has been refused medical care for more than seven months. A bullet fragment remains lodged in his neck, not far from his spine.

The police claim that Keith Davis was the man who had been in the cab. Yet the cab driver described that man who attempted to rob him as a light-skinned African-American in his 30s with braids or long hair. “He had good size hair. I think it was plaited,” he told investigators. But Davis is 25 and wears his hair closely cut. Other details given by the cab driver of the person who ran from the cab also do not match those of Davis. Further, it has been reported that a police sergeant tried to “prep” Holden into fingering Davis as the person in his cab by saying to Holden, “We got him and I don’t think he is going to make it.”

Initially, the cops claimed that shooting 44 times at Keith Davis was justified because it was a two-sided shoot-out. But forensic testing of the .22 caliber long gun, which the cops “found” on the scene, shows that it had never been fired. In the midst of this “shoot-out,” Davis called his girlfriend Kelly Holsey. Describing the call, she said there was “a constant pop-pop-pop” while Davis told her, “Babe, I’m gonna die.” The call lasted for one minute and seven seconds. Davis said, “The officer tried to shoot my face off.” And Holsey heard Davis yell, “I don’t have nothing.” Then “one big pop” before the call dropped.

The cops in the poorly lit garage were in two groups on either side of Davis. Some of the cops claim Davis was shooting but admit not actually seeing muzzle fire, only hearing the sound of gunfire. In one preliminary report, a cop admitted that he didn’t know for sure whether shots were “red or blue, friend or foe.” From these preliminary reports that did get out, one can surmise why the state prosecutor has refused to share all the police reports. Their initial plan to railroad Davis has not gone the way they thought. What new ways will they find to justify this grave injustice?

The Police Are STILL Killing People with Impunity

“This is what would have happened to Freddie Gray if he had lived.”
—protester quoted by the Guardian (UK)

Ever since May 1, when Marilyn Mosby indicted six cops for the killing of Freddie Gray, her office, the police commissioners (both old and new), and the media have been saying that it is a “new day” in Baltimore. Dangerous illusions were spread that now people could sit back and “let the system work.” But what is happening to Keith Davis shows just the opposite. The role of the police—and the State’s Attorney’s office—is STILL to serve and protect the system that rules over the people. The police are STILL killing people with impunity.

Here’s some of what’s been happening since last May 1 in Baltimore, in addition to their outrageous actions around Keith Davis:

  • The State’s Attorney’s office conducted a farce of a trial leading to a mistrial of the first cop involved in the murder of Freddie Gray. Will any of these cops do serious time for their MURDER of Freddie?
  • The State’s Attorney’s office continues to do NOTHING around the 2013 police murder of Tyrone West despite the outrages of that case now gaining national and international attention—no investigation, no charges, nothing of substance. (See “The Baltimore Police Murder of Tyrone West—and the Hard-Fought Struggle for Justice.”)
  • Meanwhile, protesters against police terror, like Greg Butler, face huge time in jail, far more serious than the charges made against the cops responsible for breaking Freddie Gray’s neck, making it clear that in the eyes of this system, standing up against the murder of Black people is considered truly unacceptable. (See “Free Greg Butler! A Freedom Fighter in Baltimore Uprising Faces Over 25 Years in Jail.”)

A system like this is completely illegitimate—and the untold suffering it causes completely unnecessary. A system that produces these horrors is a system that needs to be swept away.

Free Keith Davis Jr.—Drop all the charges!

Indict the cops who fired at him 44 times!


Volunteers Needed... for and Revolution

Send us your comments.

If you like this article, subscribe, donate to and sustain Revolution newspaper.

REVOLUTION AND RELIGION The Fight for Emancipation and the Role of Religion, A Dialogue Between Cornel West & Bob Avakian
BA Speaks: Revolution Nothing Less! Bob Avakian Live
BAsics from the Talks and Writings of Bob Avakian
Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America (Draft Proposal)
WHAT HUMANITY NEEDS Revolution, and the New Synthesis of Communism
You Don't Know What You Think You 'Know' About... The Communist Revolution and the REAL Path to Emancipation Its History and Our Future Interview with Raymond Lotta
The Oppression of Black People, The Crimes of This System and the Revolution We Need