Protesters Camp at DeKalb Courthouse over Kevin Davis Police Killing
(APN) DECATUR — About twenty-five people camped out overnight outside of the DeKalb County Courthouse on the evening of Wednesday, February 05, 2014, calling on the DeKalb Police Department (DPD) to allow for an external investigation into the death of Kevin Davis.
As previously reported by Atlanta Progressive News, Kevin Davis was shot by DeKalb police officer Joseph Pitts on December 29, 2014, after Davis called police for help with a domestic violence situation. He was taken into police custody and died two days later.
The Davis family says the shooting was unwarranted. They were not able to see Davis before he died. DPD has not offered an apology, nor has it responded to the family’s request to involve the Georgia Bureau of Investigations in the case.
With little recourse, the Davis family turned to activist lawyer Mawuli “Mel” Davis (no relation) for help. They have received an outpouring of support from activists who have mobilized against police brutality over the past six months or longer.
On what would have been Kevin Davis’s forty-fifth birthday, about fifty people gathered on the courthouse steps for a vigil. Davis’s niece read a letter to her deceased uncle, and members of several groups, united under the moniker #ShutItDownATL, spoke.
At 7:30 pm, the vigil took a different turn, when a young woman announced that the group would stay overnight and greet people as they arrived at the courthouse in the morning.
The group pitched twelve tents as food and supplies donated by supportive businesses, nonprofits, and individuals arrived. Police did not stop any of the activities and no arrests were made.
However, one camper who went into the courthouse to use the restroom said they overheard an officer say, “Those are the ones who shut down the interstate. Leave them alone. But take their pictures.”
The alleged comment likely refers to the October 27, 2014 blockade of the downtown connector.
Police did come out to the steps periodically and appeared to be taking photos with a cell phone.
Around 1 a.m., three sheriffs’ cars pulled up near the encampment, revved their engines, and then sped away.
In the morning, members of the group passed out hundreds of handbills with information about the Davis case to passers-by. The majority of people were receptive to the cause.
One woman declined a handbill saying, “I don’t think I can take one because I work [at the courthouse], but I support what you’re doing. Thank you.”