That Time Ferguson Police Beat Up A Black Man Then Charged Him For Getting Blood On Their Uniforms
In 2009, police in Ferguson, Missouri, charged a man with destruction of property for bleeding on the officer’s uniforms while four of them allegedly beat the hell out of him.
The incident report reads, “On and/or about the 20th day of Sept. 20, 2009 at or near 222 S. Florissant within the corporate limits of Ferguson, Missouri, the above named defendant did then and there unlawfully commit the offense of ‘property damage’ to wit did transfer blood to the uniform.”
The Beast reports, “The address is the headquarters of the Ferguson Police Department, where a 52-year-old welder named Henry Davis was taken in the predawn hours on that date. He had been arrested 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.”
When Davis testified later, he said, “I said, ‘I told you guys it wasn’t me.”
Davis went on to recal the booking officer saying, “We have a problem.”
The Beast adds:
The booking officer had no other reason to hold Davis, who ended up in Ferguson only because he missed the exit for St. Charles and then pulled off the highway because the rain was so heavy he could not see to drive. The cop who had pulled up behind him must have run his license plate and assumed he was that other Henry Davis. Davis said the cop approached his vehicle, grabbed his cellphone from his hand, cuffed him and placed him in the back seat of the patrol car, without a word of explanation.
But the booking officer was not ready just to let Davis go, and proceeded to escort him to a one-man cell that already had a man in it asleep on the lone bunk. Davis says that he asked the officer if he could at least have one of the sleeping mats that were stacked nearby.
Davis recalled, ”He said I wasn’t getting one.”
Other officers were summoned by the booking officer with one of them opening the cell door while another suddenly threw Davis inside and slammed him against the back wall.
“I told the police officers there that I didn’t do nothing, ‘Why is you guys doing this to me?’” Davis testified. “They said, ‘OK, just lay on the ground and put your hands behind your back.’”
When Davis complied with their orders, he said a female officer straddled and then handcuffed him. Two other officers crowded into the cell.
“They started hitting me,” he testified. “I was getting hit and I just covered up.”
The other two officers stepped out while the female officer allegedly lifted Davis’ head as the cop who had initially pushed him into the cell reappeared, according to The Beast.
“He ran in and kicked me in the head,” Davis said. “I almost passed out at that point… Paramedics came… They said it was too much blood, I had to go to the hospital.”
A patrol car took the bleeding Davis to a nearby emergency room, but he wanted someone to take his picture first, so he refused treatment.
“I wanted a witness and proof of what they done to me,” Davis said.
Davis was transported back to jail. He was held for several days before posting the bond which was set at $1,500 bond for four counts of “property damage.” Police Officer John Beaird had signed complaints swearing on pain of perjury that Davis had bled on his uniform and those of three fellow officers.
Later, the prosecutor dropped the property damage charges, the Beast reported,due to conflicting reports from the officers involved.
It was later on that Davis sued the department over the incident, but court documents reveal that a federal district judge ruled in favor of the Ferguson police department.
Image: The Beast.