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News Maryland Baltimore County Towson

Towson toilet protester returns to mark two-year anniversary

In February 2011, Baltimore County Police thought the toilet that Duane "Shorty" Davis Sr. placed in front of the historic courthouse in Towson was a bomb.

Downtown Towson streets were closed and the county's hazardous device team investigated the toilet before determining the protest was harmless. Davis was later acquitted of all bomb-related charges.

On Wednesday, the two-year anniversary of what he called a protest against Maryland's elected officials treating citizens "like doo-doo," Davis and 10 supporters demonstrated outside the Circuit Court of Baltimore County under police supervision — and Davis said he brought a miniature toilet inside the courthouse.

When Davis, a 53-year-old man who said he is homeless, arrived with the miniature toilet and a television set covered in news clippings, officers from the Baltimore County Police officers and sheriff's deputies were waiting for him.

Police spokeswoman Cpl. Cathy Batton said police determined through an investigation that the protest would occur and treated it as a typical demonstration. Six law enforcement agents, plus a police dog, waited for Davis outside the courthouse.

Davis said he did not bring a full-sized toilet because he knew police would "start acting stupid."

Davis was allowed to enter the courthouse when he told officers he planned to submit a small television covered in newspaper clippings and a copy of "The Minority Report" as evidence in an unspecified court case he said he was involved in.

After making a speech to his small group of supporters detailing the injustices he believed have been imposed on him by the Baltimore County State's Attorney's office and Maryland's elected officials, Davis left the miniature toilet outside the courthouse and went in to submit his evidence. He returned 10 minutes later.

Davis said the clerks would not let him submit the television set or book as evidence and asked him to return with a lawyer. He said he planned to represent himself.

Though his stated goal was to submit the evidence, Davis grinned as he prepared for his big reveal. Concealed under his coat, Davis had a second, smaller toilet which he said he brought into the courthouse.

"You've seen how many police was out here to stop me from bringing a toilet and a TV set into the court," Davis told the crowd. "I still took the toilet in the court, y'all. I pulled it off. I told them I was gonna put the toilet in there, and I brung it in there."

"I ain't gotta have the big one," he said. "I'm still gonna do what I do."

At the protest, one woman, who brought a toilet paper roll that read, "Violations of Due Process," joined Davis. The woman, Mary Jane Oelke, of White Marsh, alleged that her due process was violated in a nonspecified county zoning case.

Passers-by didn't pay Davis and his comrades much attention as they fought the cold and walked toward downtown Towson during their lunch hour, though Davis had a captive audience with his supporters.

"Jesus had a cross, Martin (Luther King, Jr.) had a dream, Malcolm (X) had a gun, Shorty got a toilet," he told them.

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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