Federal authorities in Macon to discuss police shooting

hgoodridge@macon.comFebruary 14, 2013 

Representatives from the Department of Justice’s Atlanta office were in Macon on Thursday to meet with Police Chief Mike Burns about the fatal shooting of a man outside a grocery store.

Sammie Davis Jr., whom friends and family called “Junebug,” was fatally shot in December by Macon police officer Clayton Sutton outside the Kroger on Pio Nono Avenue.

Davis, shot three times in the chest, did not have a weapon on him when police searched him.

The GBI is scheduled to release its findings on the shooting in the coming days.

Burns said he called in the federal authorities as a precaution, “if things get out of hand, ... to be prepared for anything,” after the GBI releases its report. After the meeting with federal officials, Burns was headed to a meeting with Mayor Robert Reichert at Macon City Hall.

Burns said he also wants federal authorities to help his department with training and to help set up town hall meetings in the city for residents to voice their concerns about the case as well as processes at the Macon Police Department.

Reichert said he was not aware that federal authorities were in town. He said he was meeting with Burns to talk about the Davis case “to find out if there is any new information.”

“We’re still waiting for the GBI to meet with the DA and the DA to make his decision,” Reichert said.

Burns said the GBI report, when it’s complete, would be handed over to the department and the district attorney’s office. From there, he said he expects that District Attorney David Cooke would hold a news conference to share the findings with the public.

Cheryl Davis, Sammie Davis Jr.’s sister, was surrounded by friends at her Macon home Thursday.

“This family is hurting. They’re upset,” said Jeffrey Jackson, who was at the home with Cheryl Davis and a handful of friends. Jackson, president of the local chapter for the National Action Network, described himself as a spokesperson for the family.

The National Action Network was founded by the Rev. Al Sharpton, a national civil rights advocate. Sharpton is scheduled to be in Macon on Feb. 24 at Beulahland Bible Church, 1010 Newberg Ave.

Church officials said he’ll be in Macon for a Black History Month event.

“I can’t talk about why (Sharpton) is coming here,” Jackson said. “But he is very aware of this case.”

Jackson said he and friends of the Davis family believe the GBI’s report likely will clear Sutton of any wrongdoing.

If that happens, “the family of Junebug and the National Action Network will not rest until it’s overturned,” Jackson said. “Why else would Chief Burns call (federal authorities) about things ‘getting out of hand?’ ”

Contact writer Harold Goodridge at 744-4382.

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