Neither Shantel Davis nor the detective who shot her dead were strangers to legal troubles, The Wall Street Journal reports.


According to court records, Phillip Atkins, the New York City police detective who shot Davis Thursday, has been accused of civil-rights violations six times during his career. For her part, Davis had been due in Brooklyn Superior Court Friday to answer to charges stemming from an April 2011 robbery and home invasion.

Michael J. Palladino, the president of the Detectives' Endowment Association, which is representing Atkins, told the New York Times the gun might have gone off while Davis and Atkins were struggling for control of the Toyota Camry Davis reportedly stole and crashed.

According to the New York Daily News, Davis had been identified by another resident as the person who had taken the car by gunpoint a week prior to her fatal run-in with Atkins and Officer Daniel Guida.

While Palladino defended Atkins' actions and his performance, other records point to a contentious history with East Flatbush residents: according to the Times, the courts settled three cases against Atkins for at least $15,000, including a $50,000 settlement with Vincent Burgess, who accused Atkins of assault and battery and false arrest.

NYPD car image via Shutterstock