Consider yourself sitting in your house, doing nothing illegal and socialising with your family, when you hear a disturbance outside your back door. As you rush to check what it is, you are shot in the stomach by a police officer. Then picture fighting for two years to bring that police officer responsibly but never receiving accountability. Regrettably, there is no need to fantasise about Tari Davis and his family. On a website, Davis established, this innocent parent describes in graphic detail how it feels to witness such a heinous act.
Consider this scenario: You're sitting with your children watching a movie on a Saturday night, and minutes later you're laying in a hallway with a bullet in your stomach. Now picture a police officer shooting you in your own house for no reason. Consider how you would feel if you were bleeding uncontrollably. Consider the police stepping over your body as you begin to lose consciousness; they search your house, separating you from your family and detaining your children. You can only hear your children screaming and sobbing. You are sent to an emergency room for emergency surgery. You awaken confined to a hospital bed, surrounded by policemen. Consider the cops. Take your phone out of your room, John Doe, and refuse to inform your family of your whereabouts, whether you are alive or dead, or any other information regarding your situation. They then accompany your family out of the hospital.
Consider yourself an innocent victim who is abused in this manner together with your family. Davis was shot on Sept. 8, 2019, by Milwaukee police officer Nikolas Zens, and it took him more than a year to get the police department's name. Naturally, given the department's refusal to identify the officer who shot Davis, the body camera video was also kept hidden. Davis, however, acquired it and published it on his website this week after a nearly two-year battle. Davis claims that after obtaining the body camera video, officials are still dragging their heels more than two years later.
“There's a lot more I'm awaiting that they're still not disclosing,” Davis said.
Zens was chasing an unarmed suspect who fled into Davis' property and attempted to enter his family's house that tragic night. As Davis approaches the commotion, the suspect, Kevin Brown, is storming the house, with Zens following closely after.
“As I go downstairs to shut the back door, the door pulls toward me,” Davis said to FOX 6 Milwaukee. “When I glance up, I see fire.”
Zens believed Brown was armed, and he quickly resorted to lethal action. Apart from the fact that he was trying to murder an unarmed guy, the only issue was that his lethal force was directed at the incorrect individual. When Zens fired his firearm, he struck Davis rather than Brown. The bullet entered the stomach of the father, ricocheted off his hip, and exited through his back. Zens then shifted into defensive mode, attempting to explain his actions.
“He turned around and proceeded in this manner. He turned around and walked in this direction,” Zens said to arrive police after shooting Davis. “Jesus, Jesus.”
Brown was later apprehended without incident. However, Davis and his family's horror was just starting. Rather than admitting their error or covering it up, the whole family was arrested and punished as criminals.
“While you are bleeding, police officers walk over your corpse, search your house, divide your family, and detain your children.” Davis, Tari
“I was regarded suspiciously,” Davis said. “I was treated as though I were a suspect. They treated me like a suspect in everything they did, from shackling me to the bed to detaining my children, arresting my relatives, and searching my house.”
Davis recounts how he felt after his shooting:
You are finally returned to your house, where everything is in disarray. You discover that the police held and questioned your 14-year-old daughter alone for many hours. They searched your residence without your permission. They pulled your vehicle from your driveway without providing an explanation. Consider that you are awaiting responses from the city, undergoing rehab, and your medical expenses are piling up. MPD promises to disclose its results within 45 days, but you get nothing for more than a year. After determining that Davis was innocent, it would be more than a year before the department took action against Zens. Though Zens was ultimately terminated for "failure to satisfy the lethal force criterion of target isolation," he was never charged with a crime and retains his law enforcement certification. When questioned why he was not prosecuted, the District Attorney's office said that Zens "did not behave irrationally in light of the facts."
“When you're an entirely innocent spectator and your family is treated this way, it affects you differently,” Davis said. We concur.