Activist Davis' son fined for disorderly conduct Mother's sentencing was scene of incident

September 30, 1993|By Jackie Powder | Jackie Powder,Staff Writer

The 23-year-old son of local marijuana rights activist Pamela Snowhite Davis was fined $50 yesterday for exhibiting disorderly conduct after his mother was sentenced in April to two years in prison.

Circuit Judge Francis M. Arnold rejected prosecutors' recommendation that David Kif Davis be fined $250.

Mr. Davis, who referred to members of the Carroll County Narcotics Task Force as "fascists" at his mother's sentencing, pleaded guilty to one count of disorderly conduct.

As part of the plea agreement, the state dropped an assault and battery charge against him. Mr. Davis was charged with "poking" Deputy Jay Price in the left shoulder, Assistant State's Attorney Ed Ulsche said.

Judson Larrimore, Mr. Davis' public defender, had asked the judge to reduce the fine, citing the Davis family's difficult financial situation.

He said Mr. Davis, who is unemployed, is trying to start a silk-screening business.

"I just basically paid $50 to get beaten up by the cops and to exercise my First Amendment rights," Mr. Davis said after his hearing. "If you want justice in America, I guess you have to pay for it."

Mr. Davis said officers handcuffed him tightly even after he told zTC them he had nerve damage in his hand.

After he jerked the handcuffs, police threw him to the ground, twisted his arm and smashed his face into the concrete, Mr. Davis said.

Mr. Davis said he filed a brutality complaint with the Sheriff's Department against Officer Mark Gonder of the Carroll County Narcotics Task Force. The department began an investigation but turned it over to the state police, said Sgt. Dennis Murphy of the state police Internal Affairs Division.

Mr. Davis said state investigators found Officer Gonder had not acted improperly, but Sergeant Murphy declined to comment on the outcome of the investigation, referring questions to Sheriff John Brown, who could not be reached for comment.

Mr. Ulsche said Mr. Davis displayed disorderly conduct after his mother was sentenced to two years in a state prison on a felony drug conviction involving less than an ounce of marijuana.

"He was observed screaming and shouting about a revolution and that police in Carroll County were fascists," Mr. Ulsche said.

"He approached Deputy Price and poked him in the left shoulder indicating that he was a fascist."

Mr. Ulsche said the incident occurred in a hallway outside the courtroom where Mr. Davis' mother had been sentenced.

Davis, who is free on bond pending an appeal, accompanied her son to court yesterday.

"I think it's unfair my son was charged as a criminal for publicly redressing his grievances with the government," she said. "But I'm grateful that the court imposed such a minimal fine and took into consideration our circumstances and the circumstances surrounding the occurrence."

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