Concerned about the rash of burglaries in Kansas City’s otherwise pleasant Brookside neighborhood, activist John Murphy inquired into the cause, an inquiry that led him to one particular burglar and a seriously broken system.
The name of burglar is Nathaniel Davis Jr. The KCPD’s Maj. Greg Dull describes Davis as a “prolific offender,” but he is not a particularly competent one. He had been arrested four times recently, three times within the last eight months. “He was already on probation for the first three charges we filed when he committed his most recent crimes, for which he pled guilty on 8/2/2017,” Dull told Murphy. “As you can see, he received 3 years probation to run concurrent with his previous probation.”
Dull forwarded Davis’s Casenet file, which spelled out in formal detail the inexplicable passage of Davis through the criminal justice system. Although Davis had pled guilty to a series of crimes, most of them felonies, he was put on probation and sent back into the streets. Only in his last arrest, and largely due to pressure from the KCPD, was Davis sentenced to four years in prison.
“Yesterday Nathaniel Davis pled Guilty and will get a fully paid 4 year vacation compliments of the state,” Dull told Murphy on August 31. “Now 4 years doesn’t mean 4 years. We are circulating a letter that will have lots of signatures asking that the parole board say no to parole.”
Murphy spoke to a number of officials to find out why a serial burglar has been allowed to burgle at will. Murphy’s police contacts have two views: one is that Democratic Prosector Jean Peters Bakers is soft on crime; the other is that the judges are understandably reluctant to send non-violent criminals to the Jackson County Jail, given the jail’s many problems. Compounding the problem is that the probation officers are overworked and lack the proper numbers to cover people like Davis. Jackson County Prosecutors meanwhile blamed Jackson County juries and judges, both of which are reportedly reluctant to convict.
Murphy is of the opinion that the prosecutors are “looking to get a win for the record books.” If they can persuade a recidivist like Davis to plead guilty in return for a short stint in jail or none at all, “They can claim a high win rate although in reality they are perpetuating the problem.”
“To turn this city around,” says Murphy, “we will need to take a zero tolerance approach to crime get bad guys out of here and give the rest of the city a break from the tyranny of crime.” To get the process started, Murphy recommends “irate calls into the Prosecutors office.”