Former CIA contractor charged with felony assault

Reuters News
Posted: Oct 03, 2011 5:53 PM
Former CIA contractor charged with felony assault

By Keith Coffman

DENVER (Reuters) - A former CIA contractor who sparked a diplomatic flap when he shot dead two Pakistani men in Lahore in January was charged with felony assault in Colorado on Monday stemming from a fight over a parking space.

Raymond Davis, 37, was arrested over the weekend in the Denver suburb of Highlands Ranch after police received reports of a fight underway outside a bagel shop there, Sergeant Ron Hanavan of the Douglas County Sheriff's Office said.

"It was a verbal altercation that turned physical," Hanavan said. Davis was accused of punching the 50-year-old man with whom he was quarreling.

A former U.S. special forces officer, Davis grabbed worldwide headlines when he fatally shot two Pakistani men in the eastern city of Lahore on January 27. Davis said the men were trying to rob him and that he had acted in self defense.

Davis was employed under a CIA contract in Pakistan at the time by Xe Services, the controversial private security company formerly known as Blackwater. He was acquitted of murder charges in March and allowed to leave Pakistan after a $2.3 million payment was made to the men's families.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said at the time that the U.S. government did not pay the "blood money" but declined to say who did.

In the Colorado case, Davis was initially booked on suspicion of misdemeanor charges of assault and disorderly conduct, and was released after posting $1,750 bond.

But he was formally charged on Monday with second-degree assault, a felony, and misdemeanor disorderly conduct, after making his initial court appearance, according to the district attorney's office.

Casimir Spencer, a spokeswoman for the prosecutor, said a violent-crime allegation attached to the assault charge carries a mandatory minimum sentence of five years in prison if Davis is convicted.

Davis was scheduled to appear in court again on Tuesday in connection with the assault case.

(Editing by Mary Slosson, Steve Gorman and Cynthia Johnston)