GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — A man who spent five months in the Kent County jail on rape charges before he was cleared says his life has been destroyed and he has not gotten an apology from police and prosecutors who put him behind bars.
The alleged crime occurred on Dec. 28 in the 4200 block of Oak Park Drive SE near 44th Street and Kalamazoo Avenue. A woman told police she was assaulted around 1:30 a.m. by a man who ran away after the attack. Around two weeks later, police said they had their man: 31-year-old Xavier Jujuan Davis.
“I said, ‘What are you guys going to do when you realize you have the wrong person? What are you going to do when you realize you’ve made a mistake?'” Davis told 24 Hour News 8 Tuesday.
It would take six months for authorities to admit they were wrong and drop the charges against Davis. The victim has now stopped cooperating with police, essentially ending the case.
Davis has a record that includes home invasion and for peeping in Allendale in 2012, for which he spent time in prison.
At the time of his arrest around Jan. 17, police said he had been identified by the alleged victim and also by a Grand Rapids Police Department detective who said a sketch released to the public looked like Davis. The same detective had investigated Davis earlier for an arson and breaking and entering case, but Davis was never charged.
He was arrested at The Rapid bus station by the U.S. Marshals and turned over in handcuffs to GRPD at the scene. He was interrogated for several hours by detectives who implied they had proof that he had taken an Uber to the area of 44th Street and Kalamazoo Avenue, where the alleged assault occurred.
“I haven’t been to 44th and Kalamazoo in over eight years,” Davis said he told police.
Police also claimed they had video of Davis and the alleged victim at a Christmas party. Davis says he denied that he was anywhere near the party, had no idea who the victim was and never had any contact with her.
“Never met her, never seen her,” Davis told 24 Hour News 8.
He said he had numerous alibis and that his cellphone records showed him near Leonard Street NW at the time of the alleged attack.
Davis waived his Grand Rapids District Court hearings and the case moved on to Kent County Circuit Court as police awaited DNA results.
“I had already told the detectives that when the DNA come back, you guys are going to see that it’s not a match to me; I’m trying to save you a bunch of trouble now,” Davis said.
Indeed, when the results came back from the Michigan State Police lab, Davis wasn’t a match to DNA found at the scene, including on a condom wrapper that had the alleged victim’s DNA on it.
Davis said that while he sat in jail, he had to take anxiety medication and was assaulted by inmates who believed he was a rapist.
The DNA came back March 6, but Davis remained in jail until May 27, when he was released on an electronic tether and a personal recognizance bond. All the charges were dropped July 23. He said police told him that all the claims he made were substantiated.
While in jail, he lost his rental home because of the charges and the police questioning and had to live at Mel Trotter for a week. He said he lost his jobs and can’t get them back — he isn’t even allowed in the buildings, he said.
“The least they could have done is apologize: ‘Hey, we’re sorry.’ I mean, you guys have screwed my life up,” Davis said. “Imagine what it’s like being frightened walking down the street every time you see a GRPD cruiser thinking they’re going to stop you, that is the fear they have put in me.”
He says people out on the street now regard him as a rapist.
“I would like for the police to admit and the prosecutor’s office to admit that they were wrong,” Davis said.
Kent County Prosecutor Chris Becker stands behind the decision to prosecute. He said authorities had solid means to move forward with the arrest and prosecution: a photo identification by the alleged victim. Becker said if his office hadn’t issued the charge, it would not have been doing its job.
He said the case has stalled in part because of the DNA, but mostly because the alleged victim has stopped cooperating, so there are no new suspects — and likely won’t be.