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Robert Leon Davis: Running Scared

Robert started out as the face of the law, but his decision to be a dirty cop put him in the crosshairs of the law. For decades he eluded capture until the day he encountered God in the woods. Read Transcript


ROBERT LEON DAVIS WAS A

CROOKED COP.

JUST ABOUT EVERY CRIME

YOU COULD NAME, WE DID.

AND ALL THE WHILE, WE WERE

WEARING THE BADGE.

BECAUSE SOMEONE WITH A BADGE

HAS A LOT OF POWER.

Reporter: HE GREW UP A

HARD-HEADED CHILD IN THE

CARE OF HIS CHRISTIAN

GRANDMOTHER.

SHE USED BIBLE STORIES TO

TEACH HIM RIGHT FROM WRONG.

SHE SAID, ONE DAY WILL

YOU REMEMBER -- WHEN I'M

GONE, YOU WILL REMEMBER THE

THINGS I'M TELLING YOU NOW.

Reporter: HE JOINED THE

NEW ORLEANS POLICE

DEPARTMENT WITH GOOD

INTENTIONS AND OUTSTANDING

ABILITY.

I WENT ON WITH THE -- YOU

KNOW, WITH GOOD HOPES AND

TRYING TO -- AS MUCH AS ONE

MAN CAN, CHANGE THE WORLD.

THAT WAS ONE OF THE FEW

PLACES THAT DID.

I WENT ON THE FORCE WITH THE

INTENTIONS OF BEING

HONORABLE.

Reporter: BUT HIS IDEAS

ABOUT CHANGING THE WORLD

WERE CHALLENGED HIS FIRST

DAY ON THE JOB.

THE SENIOR OFFICER I'M

RIDING WITH, 17 YEARS OF

EXPERIENCE, JUST STARTED

STOPPING GUYS FOR NO

REASON.

STARTED SEARCHING GUYS FOR

NO REASON.

HE STARTED STOPPING VEHICLES

FOR NO REASON.

HE WAS JUST DOING CRAZY

THINGS.

HE WAS DOING EVERYTHING THE

ACADEMY SAID DON'T DO.

Reporter: HE FILED A

COMPLAINT WITH SUPERVISORS,

BUT THEY CONVINCED HIM TO

THINK TWICE BEFORE BLOWING A

WHISTLE ON ANOTHER OFFICER.

AT THAT VERY MOMENT, I

REALIZED WHAT I WAS GETTING

INVOLVED IN.

I REALIZED THIS PARTICULAR

FORCE WAS CORRUPT, AND I

REALIZED, EITHER I GET OUT

OF THIS OR I JOIN THE CLUB.

UNFORTUNATELY, I JOINED THE

CLUB.

EVERYTHING GRANDMA TOLD ME

IS OUT THE DOOR NOW.

CORRUPTION IS IN ME.

I THINK AT THE RATE I WAS

GOING, I COULD HAVE WOUND UP

KILLING SOMEBODY.

Reporter: ROBERT AND

HIS PARTNERS ADMINISTERED

THEIR OWN FORM OF STREET

JUSTICE.

BRIBE SOMEONE ON MONDAY, AND

HAVE SEX WITH SOMEONE,

UNWARRANTED, TUESDAY.

TRANSPORTING DRUGS ON

WEDNESDAY.

YOU'RE PROTECTING DRUG

ADDICTS ON THURSDAY.

EVEN INTERNAL AFFAIRS HAS TO

MAKE A MOVE.

Reporter: COMPLAINTS

AGAINST HIM PILED UP.

INTERNAL AFFAIRS SET UP AND

CAUGHT ROBERT BREAKING THE

LAWS HE A SWORN TO PROTECT.

I HAD ALREADY PLACED 37

PEOPLE IN PRISON.

THE WORD CAME DOWN ONCE I

WAS FOUND GUILTY, THEY WOULD

RAPE ME AND KILL ME.

I KNEW I WOULD BE DEAD

WITHIN 24 HOURS OF BEING

PLACED IN ANGOLA.

ROW

Reporter: HE DECIDED TO

RUN AWAY.

HE MADE HIS WAY INTO CANADA

AND LIVED AS A FUGITIVE.

I WOULD RUN AND STAY AND

THE WOODS AND NOBODY WOULD

EVER FIND ME.

I MADE THAT DECISION.

SOMETIMES I WOULD COME OUT

TO EARN SOME MONEY, $20,

$30, TO GET SOME CANNED

GOODS AND GO BACK INTO THE

WOODS.

Reporter: FOR 22 YEARS

HE CROSSED THE U.S. AND

CANADIAN BORDERS USING

DIFFERENT NAMES IN DIFFERENT

CITIES.

HE LIVED WITH THE KNOWLEDGE

HE COULD BE CAUGHT AT ANY

MOMENT.

AND HE BLAMED GOD FOR HIS

CIRCUMSTANCES.

HOW COULD THERE BE A GOD?

THIS GOD THING, IT'S A

CHARADE.

IT CAN'T BE TRUE.

AND PLEASE -- DON'T MENTION

JESUS CHRIST.

I HAD AN AFFINITIVE FOR

DISLIKEING HIM.

I THOUGHT THIS GUY IS A

FARCE.

I BECAME AN HARD-CORE

ATHEIST.

Reporter: AFTER EIGHT

YEARS OF LIVING ON THE RUN,

ROBERT THOUGHT OF KILLING

HIM.

FOR A STRETCH OF TWO OR

THREE DAYS, I WAS GOING

BETWEEN SUICIDE AND ALL

KINDS OF FEELINGS.

SO MANY THINGS STARTED

COMING UP.

I BELIEVE AT THAT POINT I

WANTED TO END IT ALL.

I HAD A PISTOL WITH ME, AND

I THOUGHT ABOUT IT.

Reporter: YET PASSAGES

FROM THE BIBLE HIS

GRANDMOTHER TAUGHT HIM CAME

TO MIND.

ROBERT DECIDED TO TEST GOD,

AND GOD ANSWERED.

I KEPT TESTING HIM WITH

MANY, MANY THINGS.

THERE WAS AN OLD COFFEE CAN,

SITTING OUT THERE, AND I

TOOK A ROCK.

AND I PLACED IT ON TOP OF AN

UPSIDE DOWN CAN.

AND I SAID WHEN I WAKE UP IN

THE MORNING, AND THAT ROCK

IS UNDER A CAN, I BELIEVE

YOU EXIST AND I WILL TURN

MYSELF IN.

AND WHEN I WOKE UP, THAT

ROCK WAS NOT ON TOP OF THAT

CAN.

I NEVER HAD THE COURAGE TO

LOOK UNDER THE CAN.

WHEN YOU THINK YOU'RE

DEALING WITH GOD IN THE

WOODS IN TENNESSEE, IT'S A

VERY SCARY FEELING.

I INSTANTLY LOST ALL ATHEIST

VIEWPOINTS.

AND I INSTANTLY WENT BACK TO

MY GRANDMOTHER, AND VISIONS

OF THE BIBLE PASSES CAME IN,

AND THAT VERY NEXT DAY, I

SURRENDERED TO LAW

ENFORCEMENT.

BUT FIRST I SURRENDERED TO

GOD.

Reporter: HE WENT BACK

TO NEW ORLEANS A NEW MAN,

READY TO FACE THE CHARGES

AGAINST HIM.

I COULDN'T FATHOM A GOD

THAT WAS TELLING ME TO

SURRENDER, ONLY TO SURRENDER

TO DEATH.

IT HAD TO BE SURRENDERING TO

LIFE.

I DID NOT KNOW THAT THE

JUDGE WAS GOING TO RELEASE

ME.

I ACTUALLY THOUGHT I WOULD

GET THE 30 YEARS.

SHE FELT I HAD SERVED TIME,

AND SHE WAS GOING TO TAKE A

CHANCE ON ME.

SHE TOLD ME THAT, I'M GOING

TO TAKE A CHANCE ON THAT.

Reporter: ROBERT IS A

FREE MAN, AND HE TELLS HIS

STORY TO POLICE ACADEMY

RECRUITS, AND WORKS TO HELP

PEOPLE.

I FEEL MY REASON FOR

COMING OUT OF THE WOODS IS

TO HELP PEOPLE.

TO ASSIST AS LEAST ONE COP

TO NOT DO WHAT I DID.

AND IT WILL ENCOURAGE A

COMMON CITIZEN TO REPORT A

COP THAT IS BAD.

Reporter: AS HE LOOKS

BACK AT HIS 22 YEARS FROM

THE LAW, HE NOW KNOWS HE WAS

NEVER ALONE.

GOD WAS THERE FOR ME, AND

HE IS THERE FOR ME NOW.

I FORGOT GOD, AND I HATED

HIM.

BUT GOD DIDN'T FORGET ME.

AND AS MUCH AS I HATED HIM,

HE LOVED ME.

EMBED THIS VIDEO


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