Baltimore City

Former Baltimore Police Commissioner Kevin Davis deepens criticism of report on Suiter death

Former Baltimore Police Commissioner Kevin Davis spoke to WBAL’s “C4” radio show Thursday, deepening his criticism of the independent review board panel’s conclusion that Det. Sean Suiter likely took his own life.


Davis, who was a subject of criticism in the report, defended his actions while he was commissioner overseeing the investigation and described the report as full of “recycled old evidence” and that its conclusion that Suiter likely died from suicide would require people to go through a lot of “intellectual and moral gymnastics.”

Although Davis acknowledged Suiter could have killed himself, he didn’t believe there was any new evidence to merit a different conclusion. The Office of the Medical Examiner ruled Suiter’s death as a homicide last year. Davis questioned whether there would be enough in the report to change any death determination.


"If the answer is we don't know now more than we did before, that's the answer," Davis said.

Before the report’s official release, Davis had also slammed its expected findings of suicide in an interview with The Baltimore Sun.

The Independent Review Board, commissioned by Davis’ successor, Darryl De Sousa, cited forensic evidence, video surveillance, witness testimony and the fact that Suiter was due to testify before a federal grand jury the next day among reasons for the suicide determination.

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Davis said the report made a “glaring error” in failing to interview Suiter’s wife, Nicole Suiter; Suiter’s supervisor; or his fellow squad members to understand Suiter’s state of mind.

He also cited specific errors in the report, such as its reference to Daniel Hersl, a Baltimore police detective who served on the Gun Trace Task Force, as cooperating with the government and pleading guilty in the federal corruption case against the unit’s officers. In fact, Hersl pleaded not guilty, was convicted by a jury and sentenced to 18 years in federal prison.

“I think people should press pause if they think everything in report is correct,” Davis said.

Davis also acknowledged failings in the police dealings with the neighborhood in Harlem Park where Suiter was shot. Police shut down the neighborhood to outsiders for six days during the investigation and repeatedly interviewed many residents, leading to some of them to complain about harassment by police. Davis said he had “no regrets” about closing the neighborhood off because police found the bullet that killed Suiter on the fifth day of the closure, however, he did regret his communication with the community.

“I should have been more personally involved to the community to explain why we were there.”


But Davis said despite his lack of communication, he rejects any inference that he was misleading or uncommunicative to the public about the investigation.

When WBAL reporter Clarence M. Mitchell IV asked him if he lied, Davis said, “I did not.”