Family Separation is Happening in Baltimore: See Keith Davis
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Donald J Trump and Marilyn J Mosby are Both Ripping Families Apart

We must oppose family separation on the local and national level, and free Keith Davis Jr.

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Donald J Trump and Marilyn J Mosby are Both Ripping Families Apart

On June 7th, 2015, two young black men were shot in Baltimore. Kevin Jones, a Pimlico security guard, was fatally shot 11 times. Several hours later, in the same neighborhood, Keith Davis Jr. was shot at 44 times by Baltimore City police officers, and hit three times. It was the first police-involved shooting in Baltimore after the death of Freddie Gray.

When Kevin Jones was murdered, two Baltimore city police officers arrived at the scene. Security footage was barely scrutinized, and little effort was made to find additional eyewitnesses. When Keith Davis Jr. was shot unconscious in the first police-involved shooting after the Baltimore Uprising, dozens of police officers arrived at the scene, notably including the Police Commissioner and a representative from the FOP.

Davis was immediately charged by the State's Attorney's Office on 16 different counts, and only one of them stuck; a technicality – Davis was lying unconscious in proximity to a firearm, which due to a low level drug charge from several years before, required a five-year minimum mandatory sentencing. After failing to convict Davis of anything more serious (therefore justifying shooting him), the BPD miraculously connected the gun found near Davis to the murder of Kevin Jones…a year after his death. Ever since then Davis has been going in and out of trials, the latest of which ended in a hung jury after the State failed to disclose what Davis's attorney argues was exculpatory evidence.

I personally was able to observe part of the Davis' first trial a year ago, and all of the most recent. But while I and others were closely following the Keith Davis Jr. case, another crisis unfolded on a national level. Images and audio of children being separated from their parents at the border spurred national outrage, putting President Trump's Zero Tolerance policies under widespread scrutiny. Many, myself included, feel that the President's policies are causing disastrous human rights violations, and marches have been planned across the country in response.

At first these headlines felt like a separate issues to me – there was the national crisis, and then the local one. But the more that I engaged in separate conversations about child detention centers and Keith Davis Jr., the more I realized I was talking about the same thing.

Families belong together. Innocent human beings do not belong in cages.

Based on the national temperature surrounding Trump's Zero Tolerance policy, it seems that most of us can agree on this.

So where is the march for Keith Davis Jr.?

As I mentioned, I have observed these trials. I have seen the evidence. I have met Davis's wife, Kelly, as well as their four children. I can say with confidence that Keith Davis Jr. is guilty of nothing more than surviving a police shooting in Baltimore. What is happening to Davis is exactly what would have happened to Freddie Gray, had he survived.

Who, by the way, Marilyn Mosby failed to deliver justice for. After the trial of Officer Porter, one of the officers involved in Gray's killing, was declared a mistrial, with 11 jurors believing he was not guilty and one disagreeing, State's Attorney Mosby dropped all charges. When Davis's first trial was declared a mistrial, with 11 jurors believing he was not guilty and one disagreeing, she tried him again. And when that next trial ultimately failed, she tried again.The State's Attorney's office has been more vigorous in its pursuit of putting this father behind bars then they ever were prosecuting the officers who killed Freddie Gray.

After receiving widespread backlash for his child detention centers, President Trump signed an executive order which plans to end the separation of families, but would do so by detaining parents and children together. He has no specific plans regarding the reunification of families that have already been separated, but seeks praise for his actions nonetheless.

State's Attorney Mosby has similarly received strong backlash for her malicious prosecution of Keith Davis Jr., and so is taking time to "reassess" whether she is going to try him a fourth time. How long will this take? So long as she is "reassessing", Davis sits – caged – in Central Booking. Perhaps Mosby is hoping to contain bad press by delaying her decision until after the primary election. But just as President Trump should not receive any credit for ending his own deplorable policy, Sate's Attorney Mosby should not receive any credit for "reassessing" whether to prosecute Davis a fourth time. The damage has already been done.

I cannot muster one ounce of respect for somebody who "earns" their paycheck by using taxpayer money to break families apart. We have no shortage of people who fall under this category, but there are leaders in these initiatives. On the national level, it's Donald J Trump. On the local level it's Marilyn J Mosby. Seeking a better future for yourself and your family is not a good enough reason to be sent to a detention center. Surviving a police-involved shooting is not a good enough reason to be sent to prison.

I believe that families belong together, and that human beings do not belong in cages. It's for these reasons that I believe we need to end Trump's Zero Tolerance policy, and it's for the same reasons that I believe we need to free Keith Davis Jr.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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