After a two-day trial, Dale Davis was acquitted of all five misdemeanor charges levied against him following an August 1 incident in Miami Beach.
Read that one more time.
Davis had the misfortune of being arrested and Tasered in the dog days of summer when there was little else to cature the attention of NBA fans. That, combined with the the fact that someone being Tasered is inherently funny in a twisted Jackass/Three Stooges/Tom & Jerry sort of way, resulted in everyone in the media (including myself) having a good deal of fun at his expense. It was wrong, and Davis should feel vindicated.
Beyond that, there's also the more serious issue of sensationalizing the arrest of a prominent athlete only to casually report the outcome of the trial. ((Davis already knows a little something about this: his movie production company filmed an entire movie about this type of thing.)) The notion that "all NBA players are thugs" is ill-conceived and unfair yet surprisingly common. For every headcase like Steven Jackson there's a dozen nice guys like Rip Hamilton, and for every high-profile headline that reports an arrest there isn't nearly enough attention paid to charitable works.
Granted, I don't find "so-and-so visited a school" stories very interesting myself, but what's fair is fair and the media should feel obligated to at least try to help a player clear his name with as much enthusiasm as they did when they reported the unfortunate events that muddied it.
Case in point: the Detroit News wrote 286 words on Davis to lead off their "Pistons: Notebook" this morning; the Free Press, 151 to lead off their "Pistons Corner"; and MLive just 86 at the bottom of their game recap. Maybe (hopefully) those papers intend to devote more space to Davis in the future, but if not, a brief mention in part of a larger article on a weekend hardly does the man justice.
In any event, what's important is that Davis was cleared of any wrongdoing. From the Freep:
Surveillance tape from the incident that took place in the Miami Beach Marriott -- obtained by Davis' defense attorney, Scott Kotler -- was key evidence during the trial.
"I truly believe one particular officer was baiting him, and as soon as Dale got under his skin, he Tasered him and that put them in a real predicament," Kotler said. "They had an issue because he was an NBA basketball player and they had just used 50,000 volts on him. The officer had to legitimize what he did and then all the charges came raining down. ... I used the video to basically set up my whole defense."
Davis could file a civil suit against the arresting officers, but Kotler said he didn't know Davis's plans.
In the Detroit News, Kotler said:
"The Miami Beach police are known for having a very low tolerance level for things, you challenge their authority and they take action. They're a little edgy."
For what it's worth, Kotler's account sounds awfully similar to what a commenter named Ed said right here on this site back in August:
Here’s the real skinny on what happened and this is coming from someone who knows Dale and his family since childhood. I all boils down to a misunderstanding about a room key, over-sensitive security at the hotel and a smart mouthed white cop who makes insulting comments and then hides behind the badge when Dale responded. Too many black people hanging out on South Beach these days has brought out the racism in the populace. Notice that the same thing happened to Gilbert Arenas and the Cincinnati Bengals player all within the last month and all along the same stretch of South Beach.
Especially now, Ed's comments sound like they might ring true, and I'm not at all surprised that someone in the know might have found his way to the site considering where DBB site ranks in the search engines on the subject. In any event, this chapter of Davis' life is closed, unless he pursues the civil suit, which I'd personally consider had I been the one stuck with a stun gun.