Macon Police Retract Statements after White Officer Shoots Unarmed Black Man to Death in Store

From [HERE] and [HERE] New facts have emerged on Thursday, December 27, which sheds a little more light on a Macon police officer who shot 49 year-old Sammie Davis, Jr. at a Kroger store located on Pio Nono Ave on December 21. The Black man was handcuffed before he was medically treated, even though police found no weapon on the scene, according to a Macon police report. Davis was unarmed and was shot three times in the chest. Bibb County Coroner Leon Jones ruled on Thursday, December 27 that Davis' death by a Macon Police Officer is a homicide.

Police originally said Officer Clayton Sutton was serving a warrant on Sammie "Junebug" Davis Jr., when a struggle ensued and multiple shots were fired. Davis' died shortly after the incident and his death has been ruled a homicide.

It was later discovered there was no warrant for Sammie Davis Jr., and police then released a statement saying Sutton was responding to a call for service. Davis had no criminal history, a clean crimnal record.

An incident report says officers failed to find a weapon on Davis. Neither Carswell nor the department provided additional information about the call for service or radio run. Davis’ family said he went to Kroger almost daily to people watch. Kroger managers never had any issues with Sammie Davis being outside the store. [MORE] Exact details about the reasons for the arrest or whether it was lawful have not been revealed.

According to the report written by police Sgt. Steve Draper, Draper arrived to provide backup to Sutton, who had called in the shooting. When Draper arrived, he saw Sutton holding his weapon on Davis, who was wounded and sitting behind Sutton’s vehicle.

The report said Draper saw blood coming from Sutton’s neck and asked if he had been shot. Sutton said he had been cut, the report said. Sutton said he didn’t know if Davis still had a weapon. Draper told other officers on the scene to cover him as he checked for weapons. The report said Draper checked Davis’ hands for a weapon. Officers then rolled Davis over and Draper told Sutton to handcuff him, the report said. Officers searched for a weapon but didn’t find one.

Sutton, 29, who has worked with the department for more than six years, is still on administrative leave while the shooting is being investigated, which is standard procedure for an officer-involved shooting. Earlier this month, he was one of seven Macon officers presented with an award of merit.

According to court records, Sutton is a defendant in a lawsuit after he allegedly struck a man that he and other officers were arresting. Sutton, two other police officers, the city, Police Chief Mike Burns and Bibb County Sheriff Jerry Modena all were named defendants in a civil lawsuit filed in July in Bibb County Superior Court.

The lawsuit, which hasn’t been resolved, alleges that Sutton hit plaintiff Jimmy Brewster two to four times with his flashlight while officers were searching a house on Columbus Road. The lawsuit claims Sutton pointed a gun at Brewster, telling him to get off the porch and walk toward him. Brewster refused, entering the house instead, the lawsuit said. A fellow officer prevented Brewster from entering the house, and that’s when Sutton allegedly struck Brewster, according to the lawsuit.

Brewster’s lawsuit said he declined medical treatment at the time of his arrest, but later developed a brain bleed. The officers’ attorneys filed a response to the lawsuit, denying most of the allegations, including that Sutton struck Brewster. [MORE

A copy of Officer Sutton's disciplinary record shows the six and a half year veteran has compiled a list of 26 complaints against him. 

The complaints include allegations of harassment, theft, excessive force, reckless driving, and animal abuse.

"He needs to go to prison, they need to lock him up this afternoon. They're a week late in doing it, but Clayton Sutton, you need to go to jail, you need to be punished for what you did to my brother," said Cheryl Davis, the sister of the victim.



WGXA-TV had interviewed a family member of Davis, Jr and she had said the following:

"Not one person from the Macon Police Department has come by and said this is what happened or this is why your uncle is deceased."

Davis, Jr., a 49 year-old African-American male had no warrants against him and had no criminal history.

The family is now demanding answers.

In addition to retracted reports by the Macon Police Department that Sammie Davis, Jr. had a criminal history and was being served warrant at the time of the shooting, WMAZ-TV reported that the officer in question, Clayton Sutton, has had some complaints which were part of his personnel file.

According to a WMAZ-TV report, Sutton had been disciplined a least dozen times.

This case has some similarities to the Trayvon Martin case in Sanford, Florida involving Robert Zimmerman, the "Stand Your Ground' vigilante.

Local police in Florida provided incorrect information early in the investigation and were prepared to sweep the investigation under the rug, but intense media pressure nationally helped to bring more attention to the case.

Mike Burns, the Macon Police Chief, heads a department which will merge with Bibb County's Sheriff Department due to consolidation in early 2014, and Burns' had said in early April that he would likely leave if consolidation passed.

Bibb County voted for consolidation during a July 31 general primary.

Coincidentally, the eventual new 'top cop' of a consolidated Macon-Bibb County in 2014 -- David Davis--was sworn in as the Bibb County Sheriff on Thursday, December 20-- one day before the Sammie Davis. Jr. shooting.

Davis won the Democratic primary in July 2012 and had no Republican opposition. For the most part, Davis had broad support among all races and political affiliations--Democrat and Republican-- in Bibb County.

In addition to Davis assuming office, The Macon Judicial District has a new District Attorney-- David Cooke.

Cooke will have the case eventually handed to him after the investigation is finished and will proceed on what action which would need to be taken.

Many in Macon's black community want answers and justice done and are looking toward Cooke to aggressively prosecute this case.

There is not likely to be a quick resolution to this case for a long while which may span several months and possibly years.