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Thursday, Jan. 4, 2007 11:01 am

Davis retires

Controversial SPD lieutenant

Untitled Document With no fanfare, Springfield Police Department’s most colorful crime-fighter quietly cleaned out his desk and retired this week. Lt. Rickey Davis, well known as a leader of the Black Guardians and as a plaintiff in two race-discrimination lawsuits, has been on leave from the SPD since March 7. He declines to say what prompted him to retire.
“It’s just time, I think,” he says.  He won’t be able to draw his pension until he turns 50, in July, but another date looming closer on the calendar may explain his decision: The Black Guardians’ federal civil-rights lawsuit is scheduled to go to trial in three weeks. Star plaintiff Renatta Frazier severed her case and settled separately for $650,000 in 2004; six other plaintiffs have been dismissed from the lawsuit. Of the nine African-American cops named in the 2003 complaint, only two remain in the case — retired Lt. Lea Joy and Davis. Asked what he plans to do now that he has retired, Davis says he must first get through the trial. “The trial will take a lot of our time,” he says.
And after that? “My options are wide open,” he says. “It’s time to move on. It’s a new part in my life. I’ve been a cop since I was 22. I went to the police academy in 1980. My entire adult life I’ve been a cop.”
Though he may be best known for causing controversy, Davis is proud of how he did his job. “I solved a lot of homicides in my career,” he says. “The people know what I’ve done, and I think they remember, so I don’t want to toot my horn.”
Jury selection in Davis’ lawsuit begins Jan. 22. 

Contact Dusty Rhodes at drhodes@illinoistimes.com.
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