People are rallying for a Baltimore man who was sentenced to 50 years in prison on Monday, with the hashtag #FreeKeithDavisJr trending on Twitter.
Police in Baltimore shot 44 rounds at Keith Davis in 2015 after mistaking him for a criminal. Police had mistaken his phone to be a gun. Davis suffered severe injuries to his face, with a bullet lodged in a corner of his neck, according to the Intercept. But after allegedly finding Davis’ fingerprints on a gun, he was charged with second-degree murder.
Although he was initially acquitted, Davis has had to go through four trials for the alleged murder of a security guard named Kevin Jones. The first two ended in mistrials and a judge overturned a conviction the third time, according to Slate. In the fourth trial, which ended in July, Davis was found guilty.
However, Jones and Davis did not know each other, and no clear motive was established for the murder, according to the Intercept. Furthermore, Davis had an alibi for the time of Jones’ murder. His lawyers argue the gun used in Jones’ murder was planted to frame Davis.
“They blew a .40 caliber bullet through his face,” Slate quoted Davis’ defense attorney as telling the jury. “When they realized he didn’t have a gun, they planted the evidence because they were afraid.”
Now, people are rallying for him online, with many calling the ruling racist. “50 years is an absurd sentence. And this trial was a mockery of justice,” activist Deray Mckesson tweeted.
Many tweets claimed that Davis himself was a victim of the system.
A fundraiser set up for Davis in 2018 has so far raised $14,000 of the intended $20,000.