For the past 18 months, Washington Redskins tight end Fred Davis has been quietly engaged in a legal soap opera with a woman he knows from the nightclub scene, according to court documents and courtroom testimony.
On January 10, 2011, Makini R. Chaka, 33, filed a civil complaint against Davis after he allegedly dumped juice on her head and busted her lip at a Washington, DC, nightclub. In court documents and testimony, Chaka accused Davis of assaulting, harassing, and threatening to kill her.
“I am 5’4 inches tall and 110 pounds and am afraid that I will be attacked again by this man whom is 6’4 and 260 pounds,” Chaka said in court documents.
A DC Superior Court judge granted Chaka a temporary restraining order on January 26, 2011, barring Davis from coming within 100 feet of her. Chaka is suing for a permanent stay-away order. She is also seeking “damages and injunctive relief as a result of [Davis’s] malicious, willful and intentional assault, injurious falsehood and civil conspiracy.”
Davis has denied Chaka’s claims. But while most celebrity athletes in his position would retain a high-priced lawyer, Davis has served as his own defense counsel during the case—even arguing on his own behalf at an April 10 hearing in DC Superior Court.
“It’s just all made up and flagellant,” Davis told the judge during his closing argument. (Davis has no formal legal training, according to Jean Kuei, Davis’s former attorney.)
Davis alleged in court documents that Chaka is using the nightclub incident to extort money from him.
“The civil suit is completely without merit as evidenced by the court documents, police report and witness statements filed in this matter regarding the incident in question, Ms. Chaka’s background, and her continued campaign against me for financial gain,” Davis said in a statement issued through Kuei. “I am confident that the truth will prevail.”
The Chaka case is scheduled to go to trial on March 11, 2013.
Although news of the nightclub incident appeared in the media shortly after it occurred, details of the legal drama that has unfolded over the past year and a half have not previously been reported.
Last December, the NFL suspended Davis—along with Redskins left tackle Trent Williams—for failing multiple drug tests. The sanction cut short what had been a career year for Davis, who had caught 59 passes for 796 yards.
Redskins spokesperson Tony Wyllie declined to comment for this article.
Chaka, from Baltimore, described herself in court as a “celebrity broker” who organizes parties for sports and entertainment stars. “My job is to call and set up events for my clients and we are paid every time that we come,” Chaka testified. “I do a lot of parties with famous people, whether it’s singers, whether it’s rappers, whether it’s athletes.”
But Stewart Prince, who has worked as Davis’s bodyguard, alleged in court documents that Chaka is “a ‘madam/pimpette’ who provides escorts to high-profile athletes and entertainers.”
“It is well-known in the sports and entertainment industry, particularly in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area, that [Chaka] recruits women to work for her and provide sexual favors to athletes or other entertainer[s] in exchange for money,” Prince said in court documents. He said he knew “at least two women who [Chaka] attempted to recruit to work for her in this capacity.”
Chaka testified that she has known Prince for six or seven years, considers him a friend, and has hired him to provide security for a client.
Prince claimed Chaka “often carries her ‘pimp-cup’ with her, is acquainted with other well-known pimps including Bishop Don Juan (the ‘Bishop’) and frequently attends the Bishop’s Players’ Ball with her female escorts.”
“You supply other people with girls,” Davis said to Chaka during the April hearing.
Chaka denied procuring prostitutes for anyone. No prostitution-related charges appear on Chaka’s record in New York, Maryland, Virginia, DC, or federal courts.
In an interview, Chaka accused Davis of carrying out a “smear campaign” to discredit her.
Davis is “trying to paint a picture of me as someone that I am not, as opposed to a college educated female that runs her own business, that happens to be successful and works with various stars,” Chaka testified in court.
Chaka testified that her clients include the rapper Snoop Dogg and that she has thrown a birthday party for Denver Broncos runningback Willis McGahee. Baltimore Ravens running back Vonta Leach and Ravens defensive tackle Bryan Hall hosted a Chaka event, according to Shawn Morrison, a witness who testified on Chaka’s behalf.
Chaka also claimed to have clients among the Buffalo Bills. Although she didn’t identify her Bills clients by name, Chaka testified that she was friends with Bills defensive end Kyle Moore.
Davis suggested in court testimony that Ravens runningback Ray Rice might also be a Chaka client. “Actually the player’s name was Ray Rice,” Davis testified. “I guess he’s one of your clients, too. I don’t know.”
Davis testified that Chaka is also friends with former Redskins wide receiver Devin Thomas.
The controversy began on January 6, 2011, when Davis’s friends threw a surprise birthday party for him at Josephine Nightclub and Lounge in DC, according to court documents and courtoom testimony.
Arriving at Josephine around 12:40 AM, Davis and his friends made their way to a table. Former Redskins runningback Clinton Portis was among those in the club. As Davis’s table grew crowded, a promoter suggested that Davis and his friends move to a different section on the other side of the club, where Chaka was located.
By then, Davis and Chaka’s relationship had turned frosty. The two had become acquainted in 2008, the same year the Redskins used their second-round draft pick to acquire the University of Southern California star. “I know Ms. Chaka through other teammates of mine, other NFL acquaintances,” Davis testified. He said he saw her “out in the clubs, you know, just around other players that I know.”
The two never dated; they were more acquaintances than friends, Davis said.
Davis testified that he began to distance himself from Chaka after she got into violent altercations with other women. Prince claimed in court documents that Chaka once fought a female stripper at Stadium Club in DC. More recently, Prince said, Chaka threw bottles at a woman at Mirage Night Club in Baltimore.
But Prince traced the animosity to an earlier birthday celebration for Davis in California. “From what I understand, [Chaka] is upset with Mr. Davis because she went out of her way to befriend him and went to Los Angeles to party with him years ago even though he never told her to come,” Prince said in court documents. “When she arrived in Los Angeles, she called him to pick her up and when he refused, she became infuriated with him. Since that time, she has had a personal vendetta against him.”
Chaka has a record of aggressive encounters.
In April 2008, a coworker of Chaka’s obtained an order in District Court of Maryland for Baltimore City barring Chaka from contacting her. Chaka “made threatening gestures to me in the office. (Finger across her throat),” the coworker claimed in her petition for the order.
The order followed a confrontation between Chaka and the coworker outside an office building, according to court documents.
“I will cut you with my knife,” Chaka said, according to the coworker’s petition for the order.
The case was dismissed after the coworker failed to appear in court.
In April 2010, Chaka filed a complaint in the District Court of Maryland for Prince George’s County after another alleged incident.
According to Chaka’s statement, Chaka and a friend ran into two other women at the home of a male friend on the morning of April 3, 2010. When the other two women were asked to leave, tensions flared.
“About 10 minutes later when I left the home [one of the women who was asked to leave] was waiting at the stop sign at the street corner with the lights off of her car at 5:15 AM,” Chaka said in her statement. “She chased my vehicle through the neighborhood blocking me into a cul de sac and threw bricks, rocks and glass bottles at my car.”
Chaka said in her statement that when she tried to escape, the women in the other car “went on a high speed chase down Rt. 301 for 10 minutes continuously throwing objects to damage my BMW. I called 911.”
One of the women in the other car was charged with malicious destruction of property, but the state eventually declined to prosecute the case.
During his birthday celebration in January 2011, David testified, despite his strained relationship with Chaka, he wanted to alert her that he and his friends would be moving near her table. He said he approached Chaka with the intention of telling her “we don’t got to be friends, just be cordial because I might take this section next to you.”
To get her attention, Davis said, he reached out and touched Chaka’s wrist.
Chaka claimed she arrived at Josephine with McGahee, former Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Justin Harper, and other Ravens players. Chaka testified that she was enjoying herself until she felt Davis’s hand on her wrist.
“He grabs my wrist and he starts calling me a bitch and going off on me,” Chaka testified. In response, she said, she threw her glass of Ciroc and pineapple juice in Davis’s face.
“I couldn’t believe it,” Davis testified. “I’m drenched. I’m mad.”
Chaka said Davis then “threatens to kill me, says he’s going to fuck me up, he’s going to come after me, he’s going to get me.”
After taking Davis away from Chaka, Davis’s friends urged him not to retaliate.
But minutes later, Davis—who testified, “I was embarrassed”—grabbed a pitcher of juice, snuck behind Chaka, and dumped the juice on her head. “He throws the flask at my face and busts my actual lip,” Chaka testified.
Chaka claimed in court documents that she “suffered visible injuries and sought medical attention.”
After the incident, Prince—Davis’s sometime bodyguard—apologized to Chaka, she testified. Prince also inquired about making a “side deal” with Chaka, she added.
Prince “said if anything can be, you know, worked out or taken care of, he will try to talk to Mr. Davis,” Chaka testified.
“I told him he doesn’t need to cut any side deals,” Chaka said. “I’ll let the cops and the Redskins handle this.”
Upon leaving the club, Chaka reported the incident to the Metropolitan Police Department. A detective took photographs of Chaka’s injury and reviewed the nightclub’s security-camera footage of the incident, Chaka said in court documents.
The footage “showed [Davis] approach [Chaka] and reach for her in a calm manner but [Chaka] responded by throwing a drink in his face,” according to the police report. After Davis dumped the juice on Chaka, the footage shows Davis tossing “the container at [Chaka’s] body not causing any injuries,” according to the report. “The camera shows [Chaka] being elbowed by accident which caused the cut to her lip.” The report does not identify Davis by name but only as S1, or suspect 1.
No charges were filed against Davis.
Chaka insisted that it was the plastic container thrown by Davis—not someone else’s elbow—that caused the injury to her lip. In court documents, she accused the police of altering their report “for [Davis] due to his celebrity.”
“I spoke with [the police] myself after they watched the video,” Chaka testified. “The first time, there was no mention of any elbow or anything. It was not until they spoke with Fred Davis that they changed the actual report and what happened, and they published it as someone else hit me. It was Mr. Davis that hit me.”
Metropolitan Police Department spokeswoman Gwendolyn Crump said in an e-mail that the department has not received any allegations on this matter.
Chaka says she is currently in possession of the security camera footage of the incident. Although she says it substantiates her allegations, Chaka refused to provide the footage to Washingtonian.com.
Davis’s former lawyer, Jean Kuei, said in an e-mail that she is no longer in possession of the security camera footage.
On January 10, 2011, Chaka filed a motion for a temporary restraining order against Davis. After Davis failed to appear at a January 26, 2011, hearing, a DC Superior Court judge granted the temporary restraining order barring Davis from coming within 100 feet of Chaka. The distance was later reduced to 75 feet.
But the order wasn’t enough to prevent more drama between the two. Chaka claimed in court documents that Davis “CONTINUOUSLY violated the order and continues to harass” her.
Chaka alleged that Davis has used his influence to blacklist her from Washington nightclubs where she arranges events. Chaka claimed that Davis once even pretended to be Redskins wide receiver Santana Moss in an effort to keep her out of a nightclub.
Chaka testified that after Davis learned she was organizing an event at DC’s Bar 7 on December 2, 2011, Davis impersonated Moss in a phone call with a Bar 7 employee, saying: “I don’t want her to be there or none of the Redskins will get tables there.”
Davis impersonated Moss in order to “give the impression that the entire Redskins organization has problems with [Chaka],” she claimed in court documents. “As a result of these negative, false and defamatory statements [Chaka] is not allowed into several venues, has been denied business contracts and has lost a substantial amount of clients and business.”
Prince said in court documents that Chaka once became “irate” even after Davis left a club to avoid trouble with her, alleging that a promoter told him that Chaka “pulled the Order out of her purse to show everyone, that she caused a scene and called the police to try to apprehend Mr. Davis.”
On February 23, Chaka filed a motion alleging that Davis had violated the court’s order barring him from coming within 75 feet of her. In April, Davis arrived at DC Superior court for a hearing on the motion.
Earlier in the case, Davis was represented by Kuei, a senior litigation associate at Reed Smith who was identified as Davis’s girlfriend in a 2008 Washington Post blog item. Kuei stopped representing Davis in May 2011.
At the April hearing, Davis—who in March signed a one-year, $5.4 million contract with the Redskins—served as his own defense counsel. (Chaka represented herself throughout the case.)
Davis insisted that he complied with the terms of the court’s order but admitted he had been at nightclubs while Chaka was present. “It’s just, the city’s so small, you’re going to run into somebody,” Davis testified.
Davis denied directing clubs to keep Chaka out.
Davis said in court documents he has tried to avoid Chaka “at all costs because I know that she will cause a scene, twist the facts in court and lie in order to extort money from me.”
Chaka testified that her complaint isn’t about money. “I work a lot with Mr. McGahee [formerly of] the Ravens,” Chaka said at a February 2011 hearing. McGahee “happens to be a first round draft pick. He makes over 40 million dollars . . . yet you’re saying that I want to get Mr. Davis for money and he’s a second-round draft pick, and his, he doesn’t even gross anywhere close to Willis.”
Instead, Chaka wants Davis to leave her alone, she testified. “He’s making it hard for me to come out of my house because I don’t know what he’s going to do to me,” she said.
Prince submitted to the court photographs of Chaka wearing skimpy outfits. Davis testified that the photographs show that Chaka is a “schemer” who has “women that work for” her.
During cross-examination at the April hearing, the two armchair attorneys argued over a photograph of Chaka, a woman, and two men:
Davis: “As it shows, you also have your hand on his genitals. I mean why would you take a picture like that?”
Chaka: “I do not. Let’s look closely at the exhibit right here, Judge. Where is my hand placed in this exhibit?”
Judge: “I do not answer questions. . . . The witness does.”
Chaka: “Can you tell me where my hand is actually at in this photo?”
Davis: “It looks like it’s in the genitals to me. I mean your hands are on his genitals. Your hand is on his—”
Davis’s arguments carried the day: The judge ruled that Chaka didn’t prove “by clear and convincing evidence” that the Redskins tight end violated the court’s order.
But the dispute is not over. At a mediation session in January, Chaka and Davis couldn’t reach an agreement. So the case is still scheduled to go to trial on March 11, 2013.