The public is starting to look hard at the case of Daniel Holtzclaw, and with good reason. From the very first interviews right up until his sentencing, maneuvers were made to convict this police officer. That might sound trite, because after all, don’t we want rapists convicted, and taken off the streets? We do, if they are actually rapists and a danger to society. The problem with this case is there was no investigative work done to find a rapist. Instead of investigating a crime to find a person, they investigated a person to find a crime. The focus was never on anyone other than Daniel Holtzclaw at any given time. Not even when the victims blatantly described someone other than Daniel Holtzclaw as being their attacker. Kim Davis played an instrumental role in this farcical investigation and prosecution. The question we need to ask now is why?
By the time the Daniel Holtzclaw case landed on her desk, Kim Davis had already had a long career in law enforcement. Retirement was not too terribly far off, and she had a lot of experiences in her rear-view. As with any law enforcement officer, some of those were good and some weren’t. Regardless of good or bad on the experience scale, each served to form her into the detective she was at the time of the Holtzclaw investigation. As people review the tape of Daniel’s interview with Kim Davis and Rocky Gregory, and subsequent interviews she granted to various press outlets, one thing became clear to them. Kim Davis behaved more as a victim advocate than an unbiased investigator. By her own admission, she came away from her initial interview with Jannie Ligons convinced Daniel Holtzclaw was guilty. To put this clearly, a detective decided a fellow officer was guilty strictly on the say-so of one woman with no evidence to back up the story. That isn’t investigation, by any stretch of the imagination. That was simply a lynching in the making.
Once the wheels were set in motion after that interview, it simply became a case of finding ways to support that assumption of guilt. This wasn’t easy to do, since there was no evidence against Daniel Holtzclaw. There was a video, dark and grainy, that showed the traffic stop from a distance, but did nothing to confirm Ligons’ allegations of sexual assault. That was it. Nothing else existed. No fingerprints, no DNA, no incriminating SANE test results, nothing. Where an investigator would have taken a step back and reassessed, the advocate in Kim Davis wouldn’t allow that. So began the all-out assault on Daniel Holtzclaw, as a fellow officer, a man, and as a person. Why?
Some 25 years before Kim Davis even thought of retiring, she was an officer, just like Daniel. Her name was Kim Kelly back then, and she was eager to make a difference in the world. Officer Kelly was called to a local store for a little girl that had wandered in, barefoot, needing a ride home. Kim Kelly took her shopping at Payless for a four pairs of shoes, and then took her home. It was an honorable thing to do, a good thing to do, and it made a lasting impact on that little girl. Kim Davis was honored for it 25 years later, and donated the award money to another retired officer facing a mountain of bills from a motorcycle accident. This was also the good, honorable, and decent thing to do. No one can really accuse Kim Davis of not trying to do the right thing for victims, or those she perceives to be victims.
Kim Davis has also faced her share of heartache and controversy. Her long-time partner committed suicide at the police station during a rape trial that he and Davis had investigated. One cannot imagine the double blow, and how this must have felt to her. Partners in public safety roles become very close, like family in a very real sense. Not only did she have to face the loss of her partner, she had to face the loss of the rape case, which was declared a mistrial. Grappling with the emotions that survivors of suicide victims always deal with must have been debilitating. However much it rankled, the mistrial was the right thing, because the grief would have certainly clouded her judgment. I am sure the victim didn’t see it this way either, which is understandable. The feeling that the system failed a rape victim had to have had a lasting effect on Davis. All in all, it is better to have a clean conviction, though, than have an unstable one, as Kim Davis and Rocky Gregory are certainly learning now.
As the years passed, Kim Davis (Kelly) had a few encounters that bolstered her inherent dislike for the bad guys as well. In 1995, during a raid on a suspected crack house, Kim Kelly was attacked while attempting to stop one of the people trying to flee the scene. During the struggle, he head-butted her, rendering her unconscious for close to 20 minutes. If someone knocks you out in a fight, you are certainly going to harbor a grudge. If that someone is a suspected drug dealer, then that grudge will naturally follow in all interactions with the same type of people. Again, this can cloud the judgment of an investigator. Bias, whether the detective realizes it is present or not, can cause a great deal of damage in an investigation.
Interactions like these over the years is what shaped Kim Davis. It appears that Kim Davis believes that the system isn’t balanced between victim and offender. While that may be true, it is not a detective’s job to achieve that balance, or worse yet, to unfairly tip the scales in favor of victims, putting innocent lives at risk in the process. This is exactly what happened in the case of Daniel Holtzclaw. Had Kim Davis set bias aside, and just for a moment, questioned what she thought she knew, this case might have had a different outcome. Had she acknowledged that there was more evidence to support Daniel Holtzclaw’s version of that traffic stop than Jannie Ligons’ version, this case might have had a different outcome. Unfortunately, she did neither.
Kim Davis entered into this case with a blind conviction that Daniel Holtzclaw was guilty, and nothing was going to dissuade her from that. And if the evidence didn’t support that conviction, they would hunt up ways to make it support it. If nobody credible (Shaneice Barksdale) willingly came forward to support this conviction, they would search until they found women who could be steamrolled into making accusations. In light of the lack of actual physical evidence, they would crush Daniel Holtzclaw under the sheer number of accusers. Even if it meant coaching them (Jannie Ligons), coaxing them (Terri Morris), browbeating them (Carla Raines), or disregarding what they actually said (Sherry Ellis). Throw in Rocky Gregory’s mother-in-law as the lab technician that tested the scant DNA found, and who would obviously prefer to see her son-in-law succeed rather than fail, and you have a perfect storm for wrongful conviction.
All because it never once occurred Kim Davis to question what she thought she knew. She retired as a detective, but in practice she was not. She was a victim advocate, willing to persecute and prosecute an innocent man in her misguided sense of justice. This makes her every bit as criminal as the people she swore to keep the public safe from. One has to wonder if she is worried now about Daniel Holtzclaw’s wrongful conviction. After all, a lot of new evidence has come to light, and in a big way. Thanks to investigative reporting done by Michelle Malkin, and investigative legwork done by Brian Bates, It’s becoming clearer and clearer that this was not a legitimate investigation.
Is it clear yet to Kim Davis? One can only hope.