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VIDEO: Milwaukee Officer Accidentally Shoots Bystander While Shooting At Suspect

Milwaukee, WI – A homeowner who was mistakenly shot by a Milwaukee police officer after a suspect ran into his house in 2019 has released bodycam footage of the incident (video below).

Tari Davis, 43, is suing the city of Milwaukee and the Milwaukee Police Department (MPD) for allegedly violating his civil rights, WISN reported.

Davis said he was watching a movie in his home near West Auer Avenue and North 26th Street on Sept. 8, 2019, when he heard commotion at his back door, according to Inside Edition.

When he went over to investigate the noise, a man suddenly ran into his house.

According to court documents, Milwaukee Police Department (MPD) Officer Nikolas Zens was chasing a suspect who had fled from a traffic stop, WISN reported.

The driver, later identified as 24-year-old Kevin Brown, had led officers on a 19-minute, 14-mile chase at speeds of over 80 miles per hour, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

Brown turned off his headlights, blazed through signs and stop lights at 24 separate intersections, and rammed his vehicle into a police cruiser at one point, according to police.

When he reached Davis’ house, he bailed out and ran inside, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported.

Davis’ daughter is Brown’s fiancé and he and Davis have known each other for years, according to the paper.

“Stop! Show me your hands!” Officer Zens yelled as he chased the suspect through a yard. “Let me see your f—king hands right now!”

Officer Zens later said he thought Brown was armed because he kept his arms inside his shirt and in front of his body while he ran, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported.

Brown told police he was just trying to put his phone in the pocket of his pants.

As the fleeing suspect reached Davis’ door, he extended his arms out from beneath his shirt, which Officer Zens said make him believe he was about to be shot, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported.

Davis was standing right next to Brown when Officer Zens fired his duty pistol, bodycam footage showed.

The bullet hit Davis in his stomach, WISN reported.

The video showed additional officers swarming the area and placing Davis in handcuffs.

Officer Zens was given a 20-day unpaid suspension and was ultimately fired in the wake of the shooting, WISN reported.

The Milwaukee Fire and Police Commission determined he violated department policy by failing “to meet deadly force requirement of target isolation,” then-MPD Chief Alfonso Morales said, according to the news outlet.

The Milwaukee County District Attorney’s Office refused to charge Officer Zens over the shooting because they said the officer believed the fleeing suspect was armed and about to shoot him.

They determined Officer Zens “did not act unreasonably under the circumstances,” according to WISN.

The fired officer apologized profusely during his disciplinary appeal trial in December of last year.

“I cannot express enough of my apologies to Mr. Davis and I hope he can forgive me,” Zens said, according to WISN. “The city deserves the best officers, ones that genuinely want to help. Please let me help again.”

His request was not granted.

Zens has since relocated to Arizona, according to WISN.

Brown was later charged and convicted.

Davis said he filed the federal lawsuit due to the mental and physical harm he suffered as a result of the incident, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported.

“I haven’t heard from the city since it happened, period,” he told the paper. “No apology, no nothing.”

He said his family was traumatized because officers searched their home.

Davis’ daughters, ages 14 and 19, were handcuffed by police during the ordeal, he told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

The homeowner said his gunshot wound kept him out of work for a year.

“We’ve been going from house to house up until this point, just now getting into a place in the last month or so,” Davis told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. “My girlfriend at the time, she was in the shelter for a long period of time. I was staying with relatives. The kids were split up between me and relatives.”

He has also been a staunch defender of Brown, who was convicted of misdemeanor bail jumping and felony fleeing police in connection with the incident.

Davis claimed Brown was just scared of being hurt by police and said he was trying to find help.

“You wonder why they run. You wonder why there’s police chases,” he said during a news conference in 2019, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. “They’re deathly afraid of stopping. They’re deathly afraid of what could happen next.”

Watch the incident unfold in the video below. Warning – Graphic Content and Obscene Language:

Written by
Holly Matkin

Holly is a former probation and parole officer who is married to a sheriff’s deputy. She is a regular contributor to Signature Montana magazine, and has written feature articles for Distinctly Montana magazine.

View all articles
Written by Holly Matkin


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