February 1st, 2011

Takara Davis Files Suit (Teenager that Got Jaywalking Ticket While In Coma)

Takara Davis before and after the accident

Remember Takara Davis? She was the 13-year-old Las Vegas girl who was run down on January 4th, and the cop came to the hospital to hand a jaywalking ticket to the mother to give to for her daughter. If her child lived. SeeCop Gives Ticket to Brain-Damaged Girl (Why? I have a theory…) The story went viral with the phrase Takara Davis Jaywalking now returning over 18,000 hits.

Well, two things have since happened. First, the ticket was dismissed on Monday. And today, she sued the driver of the other car. A copy of the Complaint is here: TakaraDavisLawsuit

When I first read about the suit on Above the Law, something smelled very fishy because of the cop racing to the hospital to give a jaywalking ticket to the child’s mother while her kid was in a coma. That isn’t normal behavior, and I figured the driver was connected somehow by being a cop, firefighter, politician, etc.

We now have more details with the filing of suit, which alleges that the driver was going too fast and failed to see what was there to be seen. No surprise there, as that is stock language. But the Complaint also has a few intriguing details:

1. The girl was hit in the center lane of South Durango Drive near this intersection at 2:30 in the afternoon. And that means the driver wasn’t faced with someone simply stepping off the curb and getting hit. I looked at the street view and satellite view on Google maps and Durango seems to be about three lanes across in each direction.

2. She was with a group of other students, making her all the more visible.

3. The car was moving so fast the child’s head smashed the windshield (causing the head injury) and she was then thrown approximately 100 feet. (News stories say 45 mph, but the Complaint doesn’t specify.)

4. The driver didn’t stop right away, but waited a full block to do so.

5. The police permitted the driver to drive away with a shattered windshield, blood splatter, and extensive damage to the hood.

6. The car was quickly repaired before it could be examined by a representative of Davis.

One of the allegations was that of operating a car in excessive speed near a middle school. Remember, this was 2:30 in the afternoon, when kids are leaving school.

What does all this mean? I’m not sure yet, as these are merely the plaintiff’s allegations. The defense will likely present a different portrait, as they almost always do.

But it seems pretty clear that the first reports and initial reactions of many people that the kid must have done something wrong and been completely at fault because she got a ticket, are likely to be wildly wrong. First impressions based on news stories often are. Further details will take quite awhile to hash out.

This tidbit, however, still intrigues me: The driver, according to this news story,was 21 years old. I want to know who, exactly, her parents are and how they are connected. Because I would bet good money that the cops didn’t just let  the driver leave the scene of a serious accident with a busted windshield and then race to the hospital to give a ticket to the teenager, unless the driver knew someone with some kind of influence. The driver is Lusine Vartanyan, and the owners of the car are Armine Arshhakyan and Armen Vartanyan, according to the Complaint.

Plaintiff is represented by Christian Morris and Lloyd Baker of the Baker Law Offices in Las Vegas.

Elsewhere, before suit was filed:

  • True Crime Report: She may have had bleeding on her brain, and she may have been unable to feel or move her arm and leg on the left side of her body, but in this cop’s mind, there’s never an inappropriate time to give a little girl a misdemeanor citation.”
  • Black  Political Thought: “This is coming from the same police department that allowed Paris Hilton to be afforded the opportunity to be arrested in an “unbecoming” manner.”
  • Overlawyered
  • Fox5Vegas


January 7th, 2011

Cop Gives Ticket to Brain-Damaged Girl (Why? I have a theory…)

Takara Davis, after being hit by a car.

This story is just horrible, on many different levels. Yesterday Elie Mystal at Above the Law wrote about a cop that gave a jaywalking ticket. (Comatose Little Girl Gets Ticket for Jaywalking.)

The problem? The person he was giving it to was 13-year-old Takara Davis, who was in surgery with her brain bleeding after being hit by a car. As Mystal summarizes the story that originally appeared on Channel 8 in Las Vegas, he wrote:

Allegedly, Takara Davis was jaywalking when she got hit. So a police officer showed up at the hospital and gave the ticket to her mother, Kellie Obong. Why did they hand the ticket to the mother? Because Takara was busy being rushed to the operating room as the doctors tried to stop the bleeding in her head…

If you are anything like me, then reading about such a thing and the complete lack of empathy by the cop would make your head explode. And Mystal has some choice words:

But a jaywalking citation while the kid is lying there bleeding in her brain? Are you serious? What kind of self-absorbed jerk of a police officer walks to the hospital to do that job?

I almost felt sorry for the pathetic Las Vegas spokesman who was forced to lie about the incident as the girl moved from surgery to medically-induced coma:

A spokesperson for the Metropolitan Police Department issued a statement about how the citation was issued, saying, “Our officers conduct themselves in a professional and compassionate way. We wouldn’t do anything deliberately insensitive.”

It’s a lie because obviously it was deliberately insensitive. Why would the cop do it and why would a spokesman actually defend such inhuman conduct?

I have a theory. Since no human being in his right mind would ever conduct himself this way (well, almost none), I think someone put him  up to it. Like the driver of the car that hit the kid. I would bet that the driver was a cop. Or friend/relative of the cop. Or local politician. Someone with the ability to influence how the cop does his job. Because I bet there was a driver thinking about liability and being sued, as the child’s life ebbed to the edge of her world. Someone thought giving the kid a ticket would be a good idea to use in a potential civil lawsuit later, and “asked” the cop to do it. I can conceive of no other explanation.

This does not excuse the cop on the scene, of course, who went ahead and did this. I don’t care if it was the Chief of Police that was behind the wheel of the car that hit the kid. You have to act like a human first.

And here’s the thing: This hair-brained ticket idea likely won’t even work as a means of defending against a civil suit, and might well backfire. For a ticket is merely an accusation. You get a chance to fight tickets. To plead not guilty. The fact that someone is accused of something isn’t admissible in any court that I know of.

So there will be a trial if the child doesn’t think she jaywalked. Assuming, of course, she is capable of conversation.

And even if she did jaywalk, it might not excuse the conduct of the driver. The fact that someone might be jaywalking doesn’t give license to run a jaywalker down. This point is self-evident if you think of a drag-racing drunkard. (In Nevada, comparative negligence does not bar recovery so long as the injured party is less than 51% at fault. NRS 41.141)

But there is more to this story. And that more is about the driver and what it is he asked the cop to do at the scene of the accident as the life of the girl hung in the balance. And what it is that driver most likely did, in my opinion, will likely not sit well with a jury one day if it ever comes to that.