“They first have to acknowledge any wrongdoing. They haven’t accepted accountability for their actions in this process,” said Tari Davis, 43, who was shot by a Milwaukee police officer who was pursuing another man on Sept. 8, 2019.
Minutes before the shooting, police were trying to catch a suspect who fled a traffic stop. The suspect ran to Davis’ home; the two men knew each other.
“I got to my back door, and it swings towards me, I looked down to see who the person was then I looked up there’s the flash, gunfire, I’m feeling the pain, I’m hurting, it’s excruciating pain going on at that moment,” Davis said.
As Davis was being treated for his gunshot wound, his family, including his four teenage daughters were detained and handcuffed. No charges were filed against Davis, and the officer involved was fired from the Milwaukee Police Department but Davis’ journey for justice is still ongoing two years later.
Davis says police still has possession of his cellphone and they have been reluctant to release all of the body camera footage. “The hard part is realizing they are trying to do what I think they are trying to do is they want to cover this up as much as possible,” he said.
Since the shooting, Davis has launched a website detailing his case and organized several press conferences to keep pressure on police and city officials. In November 2019, Davis filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against the city of Milwaukee seeking compensation for damages caused by police.
Atlanta Black Star sought comment from the Milwaukee Police Department seeking answers regarding Davis’ case.
It said in a statement: “The Milwaukee Police Department does not have a formal statement on this matter as there is pending litigation. The member engaged in this officer-involved shooting was discharged from the Milwaukee Police Department”.
The Milwaukee Mayor’s Office told Atlanta Black Star in a statement, “Because of the pending federal court case filed by Mr. Davis, it would be inappropriate for any city official to make a comment outside of that forum.”
Davis’ lawyer was unavailable for comment.
Davis says he has not heard from city officials or the police department, nor has he received an apology. Rehabilitation sessions are a weekly occurrence for Davis, and his family also undergoes frequent counseling sessions.
“I have children that have to go through therapy because they sat there, they experienced it, they watched it with their own two eyes. I have two daughters who learned what hard, cold, steel handcuffs feel like tightly around their wrists for the first time in their life,” said Davis.
When Davis’ federal lawsuit finally reaches a conclusion, in addition to compensation, he hopes his case compels police to improve their level of accountability and transparency so no one else has to suffer the way he did.