Raymond Davis Facing Felony Assault Charge; What Happened to Murder Investigation?

Raymond Davis on the day of his arrest. (screengrab from YouTube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x-kcRDhatoM)

Raymond Davis is to make a second appearance in a Colorado courtroom today, as prosecutors have upgraded the assault charge against him from misdemeanor to felony level.  The charge arises from an argument and fight over a parking space at a suburban Denver bagel shop on Saturday morning.  While the descriptions that have emerged of the fight suggest that it is appropriate for Davis to face this charge, the appearance of Davis in a criminal proceeding raises a larger question.  Back when Davis was still in Pakistani custody, one of the arguments presented by the US in trying to obtain his release was that Davis would face investigation and potential prosecution for the killing of two Pakistanis once he was back in the US.  Davis was released March 16, but no reports of him facing even an investigation, let alone charges, from the killings in Pakistan have emerged.

The Los Angeles Times has details on the Saturday fight:

The fight was reported Saturday outside Einstein Bros. Bagels in Highlands Ranch. Authorities have released few details about the fight and did not identify the other person involved, and a Douglas County sheriff’s spokesman did not return calls or email late Monday.

But KUSA-TV in Denver reported that Jeff Maes was the man allegedly assaulted by Davis. Maes told KUSA-TV that the fight began over a parking space in the crowded lot about 9 a.m.

“Instead of going by and saying, ‘Hey that was my spot,’ he goes behind me, rolls his window down and starts cussing me out,” Maes said.

He added that the altercation quickly escalated as his wife and two young daughters watched.

“I said, ‘You need to relax,’ ” Maes said. “I said, ‘This is stupid,’ I turned, and he hit me.”

Just one month before Davis was released, Senator John Kerry traveled to Pakistan to lobby high level Pakistani government figures for Davis’ release.  One of the enticements Kerry offered was that Davis would face investigation for killing the two Pakistanis in Lahore once he returned to the US:

The Guardian described Kerry’s efforts:

Senator John Kerry, the former US presidential candidate, is holding high-level meetings in Pakistan in an attempt to defuse a diplomatic crisis involving a US embassy worker who shot dead two Pakistanis last month.

Kerry has scheduled talks with the prime minister, Yousuf Raza Gilani, and the head of the army, General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, over the case of Raymond Davis, which has pushed anti-American sentiment in Pakistan to fever pitch.

The article then gives Kerry’s assurance that Davis would face investigation in the US:

Ahead of today’s discussions, Kerry expressed regret over the deaths and promised that Davis would face a US criminal investigation if he were to be released by the Pakistani government.

“It is customary in an incident like this for our government to conduct a criminal investigation. That is our law. And I can give you the full assurance of our government today that that will take place,” Kerry told reporters in the eastern city of Lahore. “So there is no such thing as a suggestion that something is out of law or that America thinks somehow we’re not subject to the law.”

It would appear that Kerry was just blowing smoke and that at least when it comes to Davis killing two people in Pakistan, Davis was indeed “not subject to the law”.  At the very least, if the investigation Kerry promised is ongoing, it is being conducted in utter secrecy. However, it appears that Davis is not above the law when it comes to the local authorities in suburban Denver.

Kill two people in a foreign country, stirring up massive anti-American protests in the process, and the government will spare no expense in freeing you with no further consequences, but punch a man over a parking space in an Einstein Brothers parking lot and face the full fury of the law.  Ain’t justice in the US grand?

 

Many years ago, Jim got a BA in Radiation Biophysics from the University of Kansas. He then got a PhD in Molecular Biology from UCLA and did postdoctoral research in yeast genetics at UC Berkeley and mouse retroviruses at Stanford. He joined biosys in Palo Alto, producing insect parasitic nematodes for pest control. In the early 1990’s, he moved to Gainesville, FL and founded a company that eventually became Entomos. He left the firm as it reorganized into Pasteuria Biosciences and chose not to found a new firm due a clash of values with venture capital investors, who generally lack all values. Upon leaving, he chose to be a stay at home dad, gentleman farmer, cook and horse wrangler. He discovered the online world through commenting at Glenn Greenwald’s blog in the Salon days and was involved in the briefly successful Chris Dodd move to block the bill to renew FISA. He then went on to blog at Firedoglake and served a brief stint as evening editor there. When the Emptywheel blog moved out of Firedoglake back to standalone status, Jim tagged along and blogged on anthrax, viruses, John Galt, Pakistan and Afghanistan. He is now a mostly lapsed blogger looking for a work-around to the depressing realization that pointing out the details of government malfeasance and elite immunity has approximately zero effect.

35 replies
  1. scribe says:

    Once a thug, always a thug.

    Still, one is compelled to wonder just WTF he was doing in Colorado, of all places. Hangin’ with the Zazi clan? Teaching law of war?

  2. guest says:

    He looks like he’s in great shape for an older guy (or at least one with lots of grey). I see that with a lot of cops. Makes me wonder how widespread steroid use is among our cops/g-men/spooks/servicemen. So reassuring knowing the guys on the other side of that gun or taser might be ready to go berserk any moment. Not to mention the fact that they may be involved in crime.

  3. Jim White says:

    @scribe: It was known while he was being held in Pakistan that his wife lived in suburban Denver. So that suggests to me that he’s just sitting around at home, no longer employable as a CIA contractor since he is so well known.

    This post has some of my research on his various business activities.

  4. Mary says:

    This actually plays into a long-standing issue with the US in the ME. When Khomeini was energizing the Iranian revolution, one of the pressure points was the US SOFA, which exempted the US, in its Iranian operations, form just about any rule of law. K would speechify that a dog in the US had more rights and protections from the US military than an Iranian in Iran. A parking space outside of a bagel shop being more important than the deaths of two Pakistanis is par for the course.

    Kerry and the CIA don’t really care about what they let loose on the US population and the truth is, your assassains and torturers and “warriors” don’t check those credentials at the border. They weren’t ever created by necessity – someone always chooses that role because it’s the one they want.

  5. Jim White says:

    On the Twitter machine I just asked John Kerry for an update on the criminal investigation of Davis he promised to Pakistan. I’ll add an update with any response I get.

  6. Duncan says:

    Don’t jump to any conclusions about this, though. There’s still time for John Kerry to fly into Highlands Ranch and negotiate Davis’s release on the grounds that he has diplomatic immunity.

  7. Mary says:

    @Duncan: I tried that one out on bmaz and ew – – that Obamaco was going to claim that under quantum theories classified for national security, the parking spot outise of Einstein bagel shares the same temporal plane as the Consulate in Pakistan, but they didn’t bite. ;)

  8. Jim White says:

    There is now an AP article on today’s hearing. An interesting tidbit in the article says that the Pakistan shooting “remains under investigation by U.S. authorities”. There is a photo of Maes, who has a large wound on his forehead. The article also states that he has a compression fracture of a vertebra. It appears that there is conflicting witness testimony regarding who was the aggressor in the fight.

  9. lysias says:

    @Jim White: If there’s any dispute about what happened in that parking lot, surely what happened in the Pakistan incident becomes highly relevant in any criminal or civil proceeding.

  10. rugger9 says:

    I’ll agree with bmaz in general, but Maes’ lawyer will certainly try, if for no other reason than to paint Davis as a prototypical homicidal maniac in order to help his client’s case. It’s a gift-wrapped theme with significant press coverage already in circulation, so the “secrecy” aspect will hurt Davis’ defense. The best they can do is hand-waving claims that the “report would show” Davis was a swell misunderstood guy if they could only release it.

    I’m also not so sure that the CIA would throw its asset, even blown, under the bus yet. Plame and Edmonds became problems once they started typing, Davis hasn’t started that project, yet. He might know a few things.

  11. Jim White says:

    @P J Evans: It almost certainly was a hit by Davis on operatives, but he claims they came up on motorcycles and tried to rob him. He actually shot them through the windshield of the car he was in. Pretty impressive shooting…

  12. bmaz says:

    @P J Evans:

    Um, are you talking about Pakistan or the Colorado incident? Because the reports I saw from the local media in Denver seem fairly clear (although not definitive) that Maes really did swoop in and steal the parking spot Davis had been appropriately waiting for. There are mixed reports about what then happened, with most having Maes as being verbally aggressive (but at least one having him take the first swing) but Davis then hitting him. Davis is probably a dick here, but I do not think it is nearly as clear cut as is being assumed.

  13. bmaz says:

    @P J Evans: That is where it is going to matter whether Maes threw the first punch or not. I don’t think he did, or Davis would not have been prepared to plead guilty to even the misdemeanor today. So, I think Davis has problems. Although, that said, it may be a little aggressive to leave the charge as a felony if is merely a hairline, non-permanent injury, fracture in the vertebrae.

  14. bell says:

    Court documents indicate Davis admitted striking Maes first in a dispute over a parking space in front of a bagel store in Highlands Ranch. Maes was with his wife and children when the fight took place. He told investigators that he told Davis to “quit being stupid.” He said he was then hit in the face and fell to the ground and blacked out.

    Charges against Davis were increased to a felony when it was found out that Maes suffered a broken back.
    http://denver.cbslocal.com/2011/10/04/cia-contractor-in-court-over-felony-assault-charges/?utm_source=home&utm_medium=dl&utm_campaign=cia-contractor-now-faces-felony

  15. bmaz says:

    @bell: Yeah, trust me, those are not “court documents”, that would be one statement in a police report, with conflicting statements. This is just an idiot reporter. It may be true, my guess is it is true, but that is the report of one cop and other statements differ. Davis has not yet confirmed that (although he appeared ready to before they jacked up the charges).

  16. Sparkles the Iguana says:

    Ianal obviously – if Davis killed people in Pakistan, why would the U.S. have jurisdiction? Actually Kerry’s statement doesn’t say that we do, just that our laws instruct us to conduct an investigation. An investigation where charges could be filed?

  17. Mary says:

    It sounds like the Pakistani killings came up in connection with a request by the prosecution to prevent Davis from carrying a gun while out on bail. The Judge didn’t go along and Davis was allowed to continue carrying a gun “for his job” I think was how it was phrased in the story.

  18. Ken Hardy says:

    There was a moment when I thought it had gotten as bad as t was going to get. Perhaps it was the day I learned of the “Special Forces presents HOSTEL 3” slaughter of several pregnant Afghan women followed by their using knives to dig out bullets from the bodies–just one of the grisly steps taken to facilitate the cover-up–when I thought, surely, we have reached the nadir of our abandonment of any claim to civility, honor, and decency. I am beginning to believe, however, there are elements of the Davis Affair that are indicative that we are in an even deeper, more hopeless decent.

    Kerry, a US Senator, makes a heartfelt promise to the Pakistanis (still our ersatz ally–at least until we actually attempt to invade them, I guess) to investigate the incident. Then, once he has returned to the US with his prize, not only is there no real investigation, there isn’t even the usual PRETEND investigation. Kerry et. al. simply go on as though NOTHING HAD HAPPENED. There is nothing out there but the crickets. At least in the Patkia debacle, we finally admitted “mistakes were made” and a US SOF colonel offered a lamb in ritual appeal for forgiveness.

    Then there was that part of the story that we could not promise to investigate then ignore…because it was something we never even admitted happened. Immediately after Davis killed the two men, he called his CIA buddies at the safe house for help. Two CIA ops, laden with automatic weaponry, tear out in a Toyota to rescue Davis. These two unbelievably stupid—but absolutely typical–douche bags drive on the wrong side of the highway at rush hour until they did what their recklessness guaranteed would happened—they killed a teenager. Some poor sod coming home from school on his scooter got in their way, so they tried to run THROUGH him. His mangled remains merged into the car’s front grill so they drive back and forth to dislodge him all the while keeping anyone who might offer assistance to the hapless Pakistani boy at bay by threatening to spray the crowd with gunfire.
    Then—and this is the part that is so elegantly illustrative of how the cast of American characters here achieve levels of inhumanity and villainy that would have made Herman Goering cream in his jeans—the two US Scumbags, now that they’ve added an innocent bystander to the carnage, instead of carrying on to rescue Davis FLEE THE SCENE. They race back to the safe house and are spirited out of the country hours later. The US flat out refuses even to engage in a discussion with the Pakistanis that this murder occurred let alone admit we have two naughty little boys who are really going to hear it when Dad gets home. (Though I once could not admit to myself that we have such monsters in our midst, I am confident the two murderous cowards who abandoned Davis have not given a moment’s thought to the innocent life that was snuffed out in service of their vainglorious despicable little spree.)

    We ignore the killing of the boy on the bike and a representative of our government (and not one of the usual worthless assholes but someone we thought was on our side) makes faith commitments then forgets them because there is no reason to do otherwise. We have gone far down an unredeemable path, and there is no looking back on a world and a way of doing things we will never see again.

    We no longer pursue even the faint pretenses of good intentions or integrity–the kind of gestures, though pathetic and empty, the world once expected from us because when the time finally came to come back from insanity, they were what the diplomats and politicians would use as starting points for the rebuilding of relationships and the rehabilitation of reputations Our actions betray our awareness that WE WILL NEVER be or aspire to be what we once dreamed we were or could be. I am convinced the dream is dead, jettisoned to make us lighter and faster and lesser and ever more less as we hurtle toward our black, unfamiliar future.

  19. sona says:

    this is mystifying – surely, this rd character would lie low to be, well, rationally,……. never mind
    it’s so monty python, with kafkaesque pastiche – think it’s a good time to say fare thee well to all and sundry bc i’m getting too tired to get any older

  20. Timbo says:

    Has anyone bothered to contact Kerry directly? Seriously, this looks like a case of lying by some part of our government to get a possible murder out of a foreign country…

  21. rugger9 says:

    @Ken Hardy:
    Let’s not forget the Nisoor Square fiasco in Iraq in 207, that had no one held accountable since the perps were “immunized” by their reporting. Yet another reason the ME folk don’t like us.

  22. Mary says:

    @Timbo: Obama does fondly refer to Davis as “Our Diplomat”

    A bigger question might be which Colorado meeting Obama is going to let the CIA bomb to vent their frustration.

    http://nation.com.pk/pakistan-news-newspaper-daily-english-online/Regional/Islamabad/05-Oct-2011/Drone-strikes-increase-after-Mullens-statement

    “An exclusive report by Associated Press revealed that some of the drone attacks were apparently in the nature of the CIA’s revenge acts against the ISI. The infamous drone attack of March 17, which killed 40 innocent tribesmen attending a tribal Jirga, it now transpires, was indeed a revenge act for the detention of CIA operative Raymond Davis for 7 weeks in custody in Lahore for killing two Pakistanis. The chilling words of a US official, quoted in the AP story: ‘It was in retaliation for Davis. The CIA was angry.'”

  23. Sparkles the Iguana says:

    Roid rage? This dude is bulked up. Looking at the Pakistan pic vs. the Colorado pic, I have a hard time telling it’s the same guy. He actually looks more like Roger Clemens now than Raymond Davis…

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