By Robert Hull
CBN.com – Robert Leon Davis was a crooked cop.
“Just about every crime you could name, we did. And all the while we’re wearing a badge. Someone with a badge has a lot of power.” He says.
He grew up a hard headed child in the care of his Christian grandmother. She used Bible stories to teach him right from wrong.
“She would say, ‘one day you will remember, when I’m gone you will remember the things I’m telling you now.'”
He joined the New Orleans Police Department with good intentions and outstanding ability.
“I went on with good hopes to, as much as one-man can, change the world. Because I thought at the time that would be, that was one of the few places that espoused honor. I went on the force with the intentions of being honorable.”
But his ideas about changing the world were challenged his first day on the job.
“The senior officer I’m riding with, 17 years of experience just started stopping guys for no reason, started searching guys for no reason, started stopping vehicles for no reason. I mean he was just doing crazy stuff. He was doing everything that the academy said don’t do.”
He filed a complaint with supervisors but they convinced him to think twice before blowing the whistle on another officer.
“So at that very moment I realized what I was getting involved in, I realized that this particular force I was on was corrupt. I realized I had two choices to make, either I get out of this or either I join the club, and unfortunately I joined the club. Everything grandma told me is out the door now, corruption is deep within me. I think at the rate I was going I could have killed somebody.”
Robert and his partners administered their own form of street justice.
“Bribe someone Monday, you have sex with someone unwarranted Tuesday, you’re transporting drugs Wednesday, you’re protecting drug addicts Thursday, well even Internal Affairs has to make a move.”
Complaints against him piled up. Internal affairs set up surveillance and caught Robert breaking the laws he was sworn to protect.
“I was looking at 30 years in Angola, and I had already placed 27 people in the same prison and the word had came down that once I had been found they would rape me and that they would kill me, so I knew that I was going to be dead within 24 hours of being placed in Angola.”
He decided to run away before he came to trial. While out on bail he studied survival techniques and learned how to live in the wilderness. He made his way into Canada and lived as a fugitive.
“I could run and stay in the woods and nobody would ever find me and I made that decision. Sometimes I would come out maybe to earn some money $20, $30 buy some canned goods and go back into the woods. It was the only place I really absolutely felt safe at.”
For 22 years he crossed the U.S. and Canadian borders, using different names in different cities. He lived with the knowledge that he could be caught at any moment and he blamed God for his circumstances.
“I became an atheist, a hardcore atheist. How could there be a God? This God thing is a, it’s a charade. It can’t be true. And please don’t mention Jesus Christ I really had an affinity for disliking him, cause this guy, he’s a farce.”
After years of living on the run, his mind was a mess of emotions and regret. Robert thought of killing himself.
“For a stretch of two or three days I was going between suicide and all kinds of feelings. Just so many things started coming up and at that point I just wanted to end it all, I was prepared to end it all, I had a pistol with me.”
Yet passages from the Bible that his grandmother had taught him came to mind. Robert decided to test God, and God answered!
“I kept testing him with many many things. There was an old coffee can sitting out there and I took a rock and I placed it on top of an upside can and said when I wake up in the morning if that rock is underneath that can then I’ll believe you exist and I’ll turn myself in. and when I woke up, the rock was not on the can. I never had the courage to look underneath that can. Because when you really think that you’re dealing with the living God, in person in the middle of the woods of Tennessee. That’s a very very scary feeling. And I instantly instantly lost all atheistic viewpoints. And reached back out to where I was before with my grandmother, visions of my grandmother and visions of bible passages begin to come back into my head, and that very next day surrendered to law enforcement but I had first surrendered to God.”
He went back to New Orleans a new man, ready to face the charges against him.
“I could not fathom a God that was telling me to surrender, only to be surrendering to death, it had to be surrendering to life. I did not know that the judge was going to release me. I actually thought I would get the 30 years. She felt that I had served time and that she was going to take a chance on me, she told me that. ‘I’m going to take a chance on you.'”
Robert is a free man. He tells his story to police academy recruits and works to bring rogue cops to justice.
“I feel that my very reason for coming back out of the woods Is to help people. At least assist one cop to not do what I did, and it will cause a common citizen to report a cop that’s bad.”
As he looks back on his 22 years on the run- from god and the law – he now knows that he was never alone.
“I forgot God and I hated him, but God didn’t forget me, and as much as I hated him he loved me…but God was there for me and he’s there for me now…God had a plan for me and he carried the plan out, so he knew what he was doing and I thank him for it.”