An earlier case of Ferguson, MO cops versus an innocent black man

Usually Lowering the Bar reports on hilariously dumbbell legal matters. And this one Kevin Underhill just posted would indeed come under that rubric.

Except it concerns Ferguson, Missouri and its cops. In a case that preceded the recent murder of Michael Brown, a young, unarmed black man, cops arrested and beat up an innocent black man and then actually … well, here are the first paragraphs of Ferguson Cops Once Beat an Innocent Man and Then Charged Him With BLEEDING ON THEIR UNIFORMS – Lowering the Bar.

Wait—that’s got to be an exaggeration. It’s not like the reporter is actually quoting the charge sheet—

“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,” reads the charge sheet.

Okay then.

Ferguson Police Dept

As Michael Daly reports at The Daily Beast, the address where the defendant was said to have so wantonly damaged these officers’ uniforms is in fact the address of the Ferguson Police Department, which recently took over from the colon-searchers in Deming, New Mexico, as America’s favorite. Did the above-named defendant go down there voluntarily and throw blood upon their uniforms? No he did not.

The above-named defendant was 52-year-old Henry Davis, who was a Henry Davis but not the Henry Davis they were looking for. This Henry Davis had the bad luck to be caught in a driving rainstorm on the highway, reportedly missing the exit for St. Charles and ending up in Ferguson. Having pulled over to wait out the rain, he became the prey of an officer who ran his plate and found an outstanding warrant for “Henry Davis.”

The two Henry Davises had different middle names and Social Security numbers, but these details, and the corresponding likelihood that the person in custody was an entirely different human being not suspected of anything, do not seem to have been important. Though the booking officer realized the problem, he did not let Davis go. When Davis objected to being locked up and forced to sleep on a cement floor, the officer summoned others. Words were exchanged, probably—you know how people smart off in Ferguson when being hassled for no reason—and Davis was beaten and kicked in the head.

And do you believe that a federal magistrate rejected Mr. Davis’s wrongful arrest claim?

If I write, “hard to believe this stuff,” will you accuse me of falling into the cliché pit?

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