Shooting survivor seeks to bring back crime ordinance

Shooting survivor seeks to bring back crime ordinance

At 76 years old, William Davis has been through a lot. But there is one day that will always stand out in his mind – Oct. 27, 1999.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — At 76 years old, William Davis has been through a lot. But there is one day that will always stand out in his mind – Oct. 27, 1999.

“In 1999, after that incident, I was never the same,” he said.

It was the day 15-year-old Robert Martinez shot him in broad daylight. Martinez had escaped from a halfway house at the time of the shooting and was a suspect in a string of burglaries in southeast Albuquerque. KOB 4 covered the shooting for days.

Davis says he remembers it like it was yesterday.

“When we pulled up to the stop sign, the shooter jumped out and fired the first round,” Davis said. “As I was lowering my head below the dash, he fired a second round. And it shot me right here in the middle of the face.”

The bullet took out his upper jaw, multiple teeth, and left him with a scar below his nose.

“I did lose my life that evening, and thanks for the skill professionals at UNM Hospital, they saved my life,” Davis said.

It’s what he did after that shooting that matters most to him now. Less than a week later, he showed up to the Albuquerque City Council meeting in support of the “Kids, Cars and Crimes” ordinance.

“My wife took me down there in a wheelchair and I went down and spoke before the city council and they passed it, unanimously,” he said. “It was the right thing to do.”

The ordinance allowed for the seizure and potential forfeiture of cars used in the commission of violent crimes. It also allowed a seizure if the person driving the car was younger than 19 years old and in possession of a gun. Mayor Jim Baca wrote it was in response to his summit on school violence at the time – with more than 700 local parents and kids.

“It laid the law down to the younger generations that you can’t just do whatever you want when you want,” Davis said.

The ACLU challenged the ordinance and it went to the New Mexico Supreme Court, where it was struck down. Davis believes it’s a missing piece today.

“My biggest passion right now is to do something for the city, and for the state, that’s going to make a difference,” Davis said.

He’s encouraged by the governor calling a special session on public safety, but he wants to see more staffing in the district attorney’s office and movement on crime at the city level – including the reinstatement of his ordinance.

“You’ve got to start somewhere,” Davis said. “Do we want to take little steps, or do we want to take a big swing at it like the law that was named after me? I’d like to see the big swing at it, but I’m willing to do baby steps.”

KOB 4 asked Mayor Tim Keller’s office and the ACLU about how they would react to this ordinance being refiled.

Statement from Mayor Tim Keller’s Office:

“While it’s too early to speak on specific legislation, as we have not yet seen it, we will continue to work with City Council on ways to make our communities safer.”

Statement from the ACLU of New Mexico Executive Director Peter Simonson:

“We can’t make any pronouncements about challenging the law in court until we see the language of the bill. But, as a general rule, using public nuisance laws to skirt around the Constitution’s protections of due process and lawful seizures is bad public policy and almost always results in such laws being misused. The NM Supreme Court observed these problems in an earlier version of the law and ruled accordingly.

Domestic fights and instances of perceived “disrespect” are by far and away the most common motivators of violent crime in our city. If the proponent of this legislation is truly interested in reducing violent crime, we would urge him to work toward reducing the prevalence of firearms and promoting programs that identify and attempt to de-escalate “hot spots” of conflict in our communities before they erupt in violence.”