Charges dropped against Baltimore man who had been tried four times for same alleged crime

A Baltimore man who endured a years-long barrage of prosecutions related to the death of a security officer in 2015 has been released from jail after the city’s newly elected top attorney dropped charges against him. 

Keith Davis Jr., 31, smiles in a vehicle following his released from prison Friday, Jan 13, 2023, in Baltimore, after prosecutors dropped all charges against him [AP Photo/Deborah Katz Levi/Maryland Office of the Public Defender via AP]

Democratic State’s Attorney Ivan Bates announced his office was dropping the latest charges against Keith Davis Jr., 31, whose imprisonment for seven and a half years became a controversial case for its exposure of the operation of the American justice system. His release came after years of growing popular opposition and grass roots protests.

Davis had stood trial no fewer than four times since his arrest in 2015 in connection with the shooting death of Pimlico Race Course security guard Kevin Jones on June 7 of that year. He was facing his fifth trial for the same alleged crime.

Bates stated that he had “reviewed all the pertinent information, analyzed the law, and concluded that we should not continue this prosecution.” Bates alluded to the behavior of the previous state prosecutor, Democrat Marilyn Mosby, declaring, “Today’s dismissal is about the prosecutorial missteps of my predecessor in her pursuit of a conviction at all costs. I fully recognize the pain and anguish that repeated unsuccessful prosecutions have caused the victim’s family, and I truly sympathize with them.” That pronouncement echoed a statement made by Davis’ attorneys with the Office of the Public Defender, who said Mosby’s prosecution ran “counter to any concept of justice.”

Mosby had repeatedly brought new cases against Davis when each subsequent one was knocked down for problems with the evidence discovery process or withholding of evidence from key witnesses. 

On the day of Jones’ death, hours after the shooting, an unlicensed cab driver in a neighborhood close to Pimlico flagged down police and said they had been the victim of an armed robbery. Police identified Davis as a suspect and chased him into a mechanic’s garage. There, police opened fire with dozens of shots at Davis, three of which hit him, including in the face. 

Davis was the first victim of a police shooting in Baltimore in the wake of the death of Freddie Gray in April of 2015. Gray had been arrested, restrained, and subjected to a “rough ride” in the back of a police transport van that broke his spinal cord, succumbing to his injuries days later at a shock trauma center. Gray’s killing sparked several weeks of protests in the city and across the United States demanding an end to police violence.  

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