The Desire Terrorist
A Wave of Arrests
In early December 1994, the trap was sprung. Davis and his partners in crime were arrested. When the existence of the tapes that led to the arrests was made public, questions arose immediately. Why hadn't the FBI taken action to prevent Groves' murder once they heard it being plotted?
The agency's official position was that they didn't know a murder-for-hire scheme was in the works. Even though commonly understood police terms such as [Signal] "30" were being used by Davis, the FBI's lack of knowledge of New Orleans street jargon prevented them from interpreting the clues that were laid out before them. Consequently, they were not held officially accountable for failing to prevent the death of Groves.
When details of what the sting uncovered were made public, the city was horrified and shocked beyond belief. The lead paragraph of an editorial in Gambit, dated December 13, 1994, began with the words "Our worst nightmare has been realized. Cops and drug-dealers allegedly working together to kill law-abiding citizens who dare to report police atrocities to supervisors at the New Orleans Police Department."
Nine officers including Davis and Williams were arrested in the sting. Never in the long history of the New Orleans Police Department had so many of its officers been rounded up for criminal acts at one time. Never had there been charges as serious as those handed down. Never had there been such a widespread violation of the public trust.
Indictments and charges were filed immediately. Pennington moved swiftly in subpoenaing those suspected of having knowledge of the drug-running operation. Officers were isolated from each other to keep them from concocting and collaborating on alibis that they were conducting legitimate undercover investigations. Pennington then suspended all nine officers from the NOPD force.
To keep the feds involved and try the case in federal district court, the U.S. Attorney's Office arraigned Davis, Hardy and Causey on three counts each of federal charges, mainly stemming from violations of the civil rights of Kim Marie Groves. Steve Jackson and Sammie Williams quickly struck deals with U.S. Attorney Eddie Jordan and his staff, agreeing to give testimony against the trio in exchange for lighter sentences (Williams was handed a lesser charge of cocaine possession in April 1995). The Davis civil rights violation case was assigned to Federal District Court Judge Ginger Berrigan, a one-time head of the Louisiana Chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union. In January 1995, Davis, Hardy and Causey entered pleas of not-guilty.
Deemed too dangerous to put back out on the streets, Davis, Hardy and Causey were ordered held without bond. Bond was also denied to "Brinky" Brown and Adam Dees because of their recorded threats against the federal undercover agents and to Keith Johnson because of an unspecified pending criminal charge. Bond for Sgt. Rodriguez and patrolmen Christopher Evans, Larry Smith and Sheldon Polk was set at $100,000. In a statement quoted in the Times-Picayune on December 14, U.S. District Magistrate Lance Africk said, "It is the position of the government that each of these so-called cops is a disgrace and a menace."