(January 13, 2023) — This morning Keith Davis Jr. was freed from incarceration after spending over 7 years in confinement and testifying in several trials in a case that made history in Maryland, including a first-ever finding of vindictiveness against a sitting State’s Attorney. At a hearing this morning, the Baltimore City State’s Attorney’s Office led by newly elected prosecutor, Ivan Bates, dropped all charges against Davis.
“Because of the community’s long and enduring fight against this injustice, Keith is finally where he belongs — at home with this family,” said Campaign Zero Executive Director DeRay Mckesson. “After years of malicious attacks and questionable decisions by the former Baltimore City State’s Attorney, an innocent man is free.”
In 2015, Baltimore police officers fired 44 times at Keith, an unarmed Black man who was hit three times in the face, back and arm — severely damaging his sinuses and requiring an emergency surgery that left bullet fragments lodged dangerously close to his spine. For more than 7 years, Keith has been the victim of inconsistent testimony, tampered evidence, and unjust trials. Keith had been charged in an unrelated murder and tried five times for murder and once for armed robbery — with no lasting conviction.
The trials of Davis set historic and problematic precedents. He was only the second person in U.S. history to be tried 5 times for the same incident and his case was the first in Maryland history to prompt a judge to find a presumption of vindictiveness by a former Baltimore City State’s Attorney, Marilyn Mosby, and order an evidentiary hearing for the prosecutor to prove the case was not maliciously motivated.
Davis’ release comes after years of persistent advocacy by the #FreeKeithDavisJr campaign, led by his wife, Kelly Davis. Campaign Zero and Davis joined forces in 2021 to educate the public about the injustice of this case, centered on the evidentiary problems and missteps by Mobsy’s office. The campaign had included a website, neighborhood canvassing, rallies, and advertisements. The battle was hard-fought but community advocates and Keith’s family are now able to celebrate his release.
“We’ve been in this fight for so long but we never lost hope. Years ago, I made the promise that I wasn’t going to stop fighting, organizing, and advocating until Keith was released. Now, I’m grateful and beyond relieved to have my husband home,” said Kelly Davis, Keith’s wife and Managing Director of Advocacy at Campaign Zero. “I’m thankful for Keith’s release and I know there’s still work to be done for other families experiencing situations similar to ours — we hope that they get the justice they deserve. We see you and we’re fighting for you.”
For more information about Keith’s case, visit KeithDavisJr.com.
About Campaign Zero
Campaign Zero is a data-driven organization started by activists to provide people with the information and tools they need to dismantle police unions and end police brutality. Campaign Zero encourages organizers, activists, and policymakers to focus on solutions with the strongest evidence of effectiveness at reducing police violence. For more information, please visit campaignzero.org.