Man charged in 2017 “white powder” episode on Red Line now charged with robbery on downtown train platform

Charges have been filed against a man in connection with a violent robbery on a downtown subway platform just days after police released surveillance images of the attacker to the public. As it turns out, the accused man is the same guy who allegedly forced the CTA to shut down Red Line service four years ago after he reportedly spread a white powdery substance on a train car during rush hour. The powder turned out to be harmless.

CPD asked the public to help identify the robbery suspect after a 36-year-old man was attacked on the Clark-Division Red Line station around 10:55 p.m. Monday, October 11. Officers arrested Kelvin Davis, 46, at the Howard CTA station after someone recognized him around 9:30 a.m. Friday.

Kelvin Davis (inset) and CTA surveillance images of the robbery suspect. | CPD

Prosecutors said Davis approached the victim on the train platform and asked for $20. When the victim said he didn’t have any money, Davis allegedly tried to grab the man’s phone from his front pocket.

He then put the victim in a chokehold with both arms, and the victim was unable to breathe, prosecutors said. Davis allegedly pressed on the man’s neck and demanded all of his cash. According to prosecutors, after getting the man’s money, he left the train station wearing a Blackhawks jersey and carrying a black bag.

He was wearing the same jersey and carrying a black bag when police arrested him. The victim identified Davis in a photo lineup, prosecutors said.

Davis is charged with robbery and aggravated battery of a transit employee. Prosecutors said his prior felony convictions include manufacture-delivery in 2001, armed robbery in 2009, and aggravated battery of a merchant in 2015. He also has two pending retail theft cases.

Assistant Public Defender Courtney Smallwood said Davis is experiencing housing instability.

Judge John Lyke, who noted that the robbery was captured on video, ordered Davis held in lieu of $150,000 bail. Davis must post 10% of that amount to get out of jail.

In September 2017, CTA surveillance cameras allegedly recorded Davis pouring white powder out of a brown bag onto a Red Line train car during the morning rush hour. He fled from the train at Addison, but witnesses identified him. The powder turned out to be “non-hazardous,” authorities later said.

Prosecutors refused to file felony charges, so Davis only faced a misdemeanor count of reckless conduct for the incident, which forced the CTA to halt train service for several hours. Davis stopped showing up for court two months later and wasn’t seen again until four months ago when police arrested him on a warrant.

The status of the CTA case was not immediately available over the weekend.

You can support CWBChicago’s start-to-finish tracking of court cases by becoming a subscriber today!

About CWBChicago 6783 Articles
CWBChicago was created in 2013 by five residents of Wrigleyville and Boystown who had grown disheartened with inaccurate information that was being provided at local Community Policing (CAPS) meetings. Our coverage area has expanded since then to cover Lincoln Park, River North, The Loop, Uptown, and other North Side Areas. But our mission remains unchanged: To provide original public safety reporting with better context and greater detail than mainstream media outlets. Our editorial email address is