Thanks to superheroes like Batman and The Punisher, we as a society tend to romanticize the vigilante. They act as the hammer of the people: crushing injustice, righting wrongs, succeeding where the justice system fails. When we feel like police, attorneys, or judges are moving too slowly, we hope for someone to put on a metaphorical cape and run off to save the day.
The reality, however, is that vigilantism is far more dangerous than society might like to believe. There are known vigilante operations that exist all over the world, but they aren’t sanctioned by the powers that be. And for good reason.
When 16-year-old Nyasia Davis of Brooklyn was reported missing on April 30th, four days after she had run away from home, her family was understandably upset, frantic even. Her father, 49-year-old Paul Davis, in particular was distressed. Though police were working to find Nyasia, Davis couldn’t wait that long to get his daughter back.
The next day, Davis and two unknown friends had gotten word that Nyasia was staying with a man named Akeem Booker. The trio decided not to inform police, but to travel there themselves.
When they arrived, they met Booker and things quickly deteriorated. Nyasia was not there, but that didn’t stop Davis and company to inquire where she could be. Unable to provide an answer, Booker allegedly argued with the trio. A friend of Booker’s, Paul Case, apparently tried to break up the fight, but it was too late.
Davis pulled out a gun and fired. Booker was shot in the chest while Case was shot in the left hand and left thigh. Davis and company high-tailed it out of there and sped off. Medics arrived and transported both men to Brookdale University Hospital. Case recovered, but medical professionals were unable to save Booker.
That Friday, Davis was charged with second-degree murder, attempted murder, and weapons charges. He was ordered to be held without bail and pleaded not guilty that day. If convicted, he’ll face 25 years to life in prison.
Just days after the murder, Nyasia returned home all on her own.