Raymond Davis, the CIA contractor whose arrest in Pakistan caused an international incident, had flown under the radar for the past several months. It was only when he was charged with assault the other day — after a dispute outside a bagel shop in Colorado — that the world again began to take notice.
Now, less than a week after Davis’s arrest, Pakistan’s embassy in Washington has asked the Justice Department for an update on its promised investigation into Davis’s last brush with the law, when he shot and killed two Pakistanis in January.
In an Oct. 3 diplomatic note to Justice and the State Department, Ambassador Husain Haqqani referenced “the ongoing investigation” and asked that “the latest status in the matter may kindly be conveyed to the Embassy.” Haqqani said no reply had yet been received.
Asked the same question, Justice spokesperson Laura Sweeney declined to comment on the department’s behalf.
Davis, whom President Obama once called “our diplomat,” was charged with murder after he shot dead two motorcyclists the contractor said were trying to rob him while he drove through Lahore in broad daylight. The United States claimed diplomatic immunity for Davis, although it later emerged that his direct employer was the CIA, for which he performed security functions in the Pakistani city.
The administration demanded his release and temporarily canceled high-level contacts with the Pakistan government.
Davis was eventually let go in March, after $2.3 million in traditional “blood money” was paid to the victims’ families. In a statement at the time of the release, the U.S. ambassador to Pakistan, Cameron Munter, said that the families had “pardoned” Davis and expressed regret for the killings on behalf of the U.S. government.
“I can confirm that the United States Department of Justice has opened an investigation into the incident in Lahore,” Munter said.
In a May 26 letter to Pakistani Interior Minister Rehman Malik, Mary Ellen Warlow, director of the Criminal Division of Justice’s international affairs office, said that the department was “currently investigating” the Lahore shooting and requested that Pakistan “take steps to preserve all evidence relating to these events” and set up a liaison officer at the embassy to handle the matter.
That, Pakistan says, is the last it heard.
And it was the last anyone heard of Davis, until an altercation outside the Colorado bagel shop last Friday. According to court documents, Davis was formally charged Tuesday with felony second-degree assault and misdemeanor disorderly conduct, the Associated Press reported.
In the Castle Rock, Colo. courtroom, Senior Deputy District Attorney Rich Orman mentioned the Pakistan shooting while asking a county judge to forbid Davis from carrying a firearm while free on bail, the AP said. Orman said he wanted to avoid another situation where there could be “potential lack of judgment.”
Davis attorney William Frankfurt called the two incidents “miles and worlds apart” and said that the Pakistan shooting had taken place in a “war zone” while Davis was performing duties for the U.S. government.
Davis, a former Special Operations soldier, told the judge that he was “not carrying” at the moment, but needed a weapon for his work as a firearms instructor. The judge agreed he could use firearms at his work in the Washington area and released him on $10,000 bail.
A CIA spokesman declined to comment on whether the agency had severed its ties to Davis.
“The CIA does not, as a rule, comment on matters pending in U.S. courts,” said the spokesman, Preston Golson.
U.S. officials said that CIA contractors are not on the agency payroll or part of the workforce when they are not on assignment.
Court documents offered two different versions of the parking lot incident. A witness told investigators that Davis, 37, got out of his car to complain after a man driving with his wife and two children pulled into a parking spot Davis had been waiting for. The man, Jeffrey Maes, declined and parked.
Maes’s wife disputed that version, saying Davis had aggressively approached them while shouting and cursing.
Other witnesses agreed that the two men began swinging at each other until bystanders broke up the fight. Different witnesses provided different accounts of who struck whom. Maes appeared in court with a large wound in his forehead, which Davis said came from a fall. Maes also claimed a compression fracture of a vertebrae in the middle of his back, which is considered serious bodily injury, although AP reported he appeared to be walking without visible assistance.
A preliminary hearing is scheduled for Dec. 15.
Staff writer Greg Miller contributed to this report.