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American professor sentenced to jail for spitting, kicking and hurling vulgarities at S’pore police

The Independent logo The Independent 21/8/2019 Hana Otsuka
a sign in front of a building © The Independent Singapore

Singapore – American professor Jeffrey David Davis, 53, was sentenced to three months in jail after he threw vulgarities and racial insults at the Singapore police.

On March 3, at around 6:30 pm, the Stanford-educated researcher and professor thought he was getting apprehended when the police woke him up from a nap at a bus stop along River Valley Road, reported Today.

Davis initially booked an Uber but realized it didn’t work on his phone (Uber no longer operated in Singapore as its Southeast Asian operations were absorbed by Grab in 2018) and went to a bus stop instead.

According to Davis’ lawyer Sim Bing Wen of Drew & Napier, Davis dozed off at the bus stop while waiting for a ride to his accommodations at Killiney Road.

The officers tried to help Davis after receiving a report from a commuter that there was a man “passed out” at the bus stop; however, Davis woke up confused and thought he was getting apprehended.

Wanting to be left alone, Davis began shouting at the female officer, Sergeant Lim Yi Hui, who tried to help him.

“Get back in your f***king wagon and get the f*** away from me” and “You don’t f***ing actually tell me how my f***ing language is” were some of the vulgarities Davis threw at Sergeant Lim.

Davis even insulted the officer by saying, “I am a f***ing professor, you f***ing n*****.”

Aside from hurling racial slurs, Davis also spat at Sergeant Lim’s face and arm.

When officer Ruzshahfil Ngirwan brought Davis to Tanglin Police Division and secured him to a metal railing for an inspection of prohibited items, the professor kicked the police officer.

Sim argued that Davis’ actions were in defense of the police trying to get a sample of Davis’ blood. Davis was still disoriented and didn’t know the reason for the blood extraction.

“From start to end, Mr Davis did not set out to cause any trouble to anyone. He was not fully in control of how he was reacting to events and people around him,” said Davis’ lawyer.

Sim added that Davis went to Singapore to test the possibility of establishing a business and migrating here permanently.

“The cruel irony of the situation is that…he was in Singapore exploring the possibility of working here,” said Sim. “The last thing he wanted to do was to jeopardise his professional prospects in this country by getting into any trouble with the authorities.”

Davis was sentenced to two weeks in jail for verbal abuse under the Protection from Harassment Act, four weeks for spitting at Sergeant Lim’s face and arm and another eight weeks for his actions towards officer Ruzshahfil Ngirwan.

As his sentence for the charge under the Protection from Harassment Act will commence concurrently with the other two offences, Davis will serve a total of 12 weeks in jail.

Sim noted that his client was “wracked with guilt” when he discovered his actions towards the police.

Davis wrote a letter to the investigating officer, Inspector Louis Lou, a day after his statement was taken, thanking the team “for their professionalism in handling the entire incident.”

He prepared another personal statement addressed to the Attorney-General’s Chambers expressing his “deepest regrets” and “profound remorse and humiliation for the aggrievances for which [he was] charged.”

Davis could have been sentenced up to four years in jail, fined or both for the act of spitting on a public servant and jailed up to seven years, fined, or both for voluntarily causing hurt to a public servant.

For hurling vulgarities towards a public servant, the punishment could reach up to 12 months in jail and a fine of S$5,000. -/TISG

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