It is better to be thorough than quick in the Davis investigation

January 30, 2013 

It is understandable that Macon’s City Council wants answers in the shooting death of Sammie Davis Jr., that occurred more than a month ago, by Macon police officer Clayton Sutton. After initial reports that Davis was armed and the officer was serving a warrant turned out to be untrue, curiosity and suspicion naturally started to rise.

Certainly, council members are being repeatedly asked what’s going on with the GBI investigation initiated by District Attorney David Cooke and they want answers, and they are not alone. The entire community wants to know what transpired between Davis and Sutton in the middle of the day at the Pio Nono Kroger supermarket that led to Sutton shooting Davis three times in the chest.

It is equally understandable why so few answers were forthcoming Monday when the Public Safety Committee met in special session to discuss the case. About all the assistant to city’s chief administrative officer Keith Moffett could say is that he couldn’t answer the committee’s questions until the investigation is complete sometime in mid-February.

The city administration has two valid reasons for declining to answer. The first is that until the investigation is complete any answer would be simply speculation, and speculation could lead to evidence in what is sure to be a wrongful death lawsuit.

Council does have to wonder why a representative from the police department didn’t give the no answers rather than Moffett. There may be some truth in Councilman Henry Gibson’s thought that Police Chief Mike Burns has some issues with council -- his appearances before the committee have not always gone smoothly. A more likely reason is the recent arrests of two officers on theft charges. One of those officers was re-arrested the day of the hearing on more charges.

It’s hard to be patient, but that is what is required. It is more important that the investigation be thorough and complete than quick.

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