Mimesis Law
19 January 2020

But For Video: Detroit Cop Killer Edition

December 12, 2016 (Fault Lines) — A Wayne State University police officer was killed in the line of duty on November 22nd. Sergeant Colin Rose was shot in the head in the early evening and died the next day without regaining consciousness. Police were quick to find the shooter, arresting him the next day:

On November 22, 2016 at 6:30 p.m. Officer Rose conducted a traffic investigation of Davis who was riding a bicycle in the area of Lincoln and Brainard in Detroit. Officer Rose called for back up at 6:31 p.m. while he was attempting to take Davis into custody. Shortly thereafter, it is alleged that Davis shot Officer Rose in the head and fled on foot from the scene. A Wayne State police officer arrived at the scene at approximately 6:34 p. m. and transported Officer Collins to Detroit Receiving Hospital. Officer Collins was treated and later expired from the wound.  Davis was apprehended by the police several hours later and taken into custody.

Davis, apparently, is a bad guy who has hates police officers:

Davis has a history of being combative with police officers, court records show.  He was charged in 2011 with two charges of felony assault involving a police officer, one causing injury, and pleaded guilty, resulting in a 53-day jail sentence, the records show. In 2009, he was charged with assault/resisting/obstructing police officers with the Taylor Police Department.

They had their man. Or did they? Turns out the police had the wrong guy:

Prosecutors officially dropped the charges Wednesday against the man once accused of shooting and killing Collin Rose. Former suspect DeAngelo Davis’ name has been cleared after a review of new evidence.

So what happened? Ladies and gentlemen, the miracle of modern technology:

A source told FOX 2 that investigators spotted DeAngelo Davis on camera at a different location during the time of the shooting. We spoke to employees at several businesses in the neighborhood, and they also tell me police came looking at their surveillance video.

One of those businesses, which asked not to be identified, believes investigators saw Davis walking along the sidewalk on their cameras, which is the video that is apparently now in police custody.

At first, Davis was designated a “a person of interest,” but the fact that he was charged so soon after his arrest (a day or two) means that the prosecuting attorney felt they had enough to make the charges stick. Which they may have, but shouldn’t have. Initial news reports suggested that the shooting occurred when Rose stopped a bicyclist to question him about thefts from vehicles in the area. About that:

Neighbors of Davis say that a leg injury prevents DeAndre Davis from riding a bicycle, which was another reason they believed he was innocent.

There are some key details here that make it difficult to assess exactly how badly the police screwed the pooch. How far away from the scene of the shooting was the camera that established the alibi? And what beyond Davis’s record made the police think that he was the shooter?

Even in Detroit, the murder of a police officer is a big deal, which means that finding the shooter is a top priority. Or, you know, someone who might be the shooter. Both the prosecutor and the police seem pretty embarrassed:

The prosecutor, who called the press conference late Tuesday afternoon, declined to take questions or provide further details, stating she didn’t want to compromise the ongoing investigation.

[Police Chief James] Craig said his detectives have been working “literally around the clock” and the investigation didn’t end with Davis’ arrest. He remains “optimistic” the killer will soon be arrested.

I’ll bet. To the extent that the police were “still investigating,” it was to pile everything they could on to Davis. This is speculation, but the fact that it took two weeks to find the video suggests that it wasn’t the police’s diligence that revealed it. More likely, Davis told his lawyer about his alibi, who either found it herself or told the police about it.

Quoth his attorney, Nicole James:

The murder of Sgt. Rose was a tragic loss to the community and law enforcement, but it was also wrong to snatch Mr. DeAngelo Davis off the street and try this case in the media despite a lack of evidence connecting him to the crime. The rush to judgment by the Detroit Police Department, Wayne State Public Safety and the Prosecutor’s Office resulted in Mr. Davis being vilified and his reputation sullied by both the national and local media.

There’s an old saying: “Good, fast, cheap: pick 2.” The police in this case went for the latter two. And because they did, an innocent man spent two weeks in jail and the real killer has a two week head start. But for the video, it could have been way worse.

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