AFRICANGLOBE – Two Macon councilmen said they’re troubled that police released incorrect information in the first hours after an officer fatally shot Sammie Davis Jr.
One of the councilmen says police failed to interview all the witnesses and left the scene unusually quickly.
An officer shot Sammie Davis Jr. three times in the chest outside the Midtown Kroger supermarket on December 21st.
The officer, Clayton Sutton, was put on administrative leave after the shooting pending investigations by the major-crimes unit and by the police Internal Affairs division.
In his first day on the job, District Attorney David Cooke asked the GBI to take over the case because it involved a Macon police officer.
Councilmen Henry Ficklin and Henry Gibson say they’ve heard from members of the community who are unhappy with the handling of the case.
Ficklin wrote to Mayor Robert Reichert and the District Attorney urging them to ask the Georgia Bureau of Investigation for help.
He says he wanted an outside agency to investigate mainly because Macon police released incorrect information in the first hours after the shooting.
They initially reported that Sutton was serving Davis with a warrant when a fight broke out, but later backtracked on that account.
Police have not explained why Sutton shot Davis.
“When you get that kind of information that is incorrect in the community, people start asking questions and distrusting what is happening through the whole process.” says Ficklin.
Henry Gibson says, “This is causing a lot of problems that spread a dark cloud over Macon Police Department and this whole investigation. If the public relations officer didn’t have proper information she should have made sure.”
Police spokeswoman Jami Gaudet told us that the statement about the warrant was based on the best information they had at that time.
Gibson says several people told him they were at the supermarket when Davis was shot and were never interviewed by police. 13WMAZ reporters at the scene said it appeared that investigators cleared the shooting scene after just over an hour.
We asked Gibson, a former investigator with the Macon Police Department, what he thought about the timetable.
“You probably should lock the parking lot down (at) the entrance and you need to know what everybody saw, and that is time- consuming.”
Comparing it to other homicide investigations, “it has taken to my knowledge three or four hours to completely do a canvass of the immediate area,” Gibson said.
Rodney Wall, Special Agent-in-Charge with the GBI office in Perry, says they’ve received the District Attorney’s letter asking them to investigate the case, and will start Wednesday.
Wall says it’s not standard for the GBI to immediately get involved with a case involving a local officer, and it’s up to the police department to request their assistance.