New lawsuit alleges beating by officer involved in Kroger case

mstucka@macon.comDecember 18, 2013 

While a federal prosecutor was announcing there wasn’t enough evidence to prosecute a Macon police officer for civil rights violations in a fatal shooting, a lawyer was filing a lawsuit that accuses the same officer of smacking his client in the head with a flashlight, prompting emergency surgery.

Jimmy Brewster filed a complaint Tuesday afternoon that echoes a lawsuit from last year. He claims that officer Clayton Sutton hit him in the head several times with a flashlight, knocking him unconscious during a July 22, 2010, confrontation. The lawsuit also alleges that Sutton threatened to shoot Brewster while he was sitting on a porch.

Sutton and his attorney, Charles Jones, of Fort Valley, asked the court to dismiss the first lawsuit in June. The new case is similar to the old one.

Brewster said he refused medical treatment at a police station because he thought he just had a bad headache. His lawsuit said he complained about pain at the Bibb County jail for more than two months before he collapsed in his jail cell. He was taken to an intensive care unit with a moderate- to large-sized hematoma, which required immediate surgery. A hematoma is a collection of blood outside a blood vessel.

Since then, Brewster said, he has received medical bills of more than $20,000 and has a permanent brain injury called seizure prophylaxis.

Last Dec. 21, Sutton fatally shot Sammie “Junebug” Davis Jr. outside the Kroger store on Pio Nono Avenue in Macon. U.S. Attorney Michael Moore said Tuesday there wasn’t enough evidence to warrant prosecution for civil rights violations. A Macon shooting review board found Sutton didn’t violate any policies in his encounter with Davis. Separately, after a three-month investigation, District Attorney David Cooke ruled that the shooting was justified.

Besides suing Sutton, Brewster is also suing Macon’s mayor and City Council; then-Macon police officers Lisa Sapp and Charles Gibby; then-Macon Police Chief Mike Burns and then-Bibb County Sheriff Jerry Modena.

In the earlier version of the lawsuit, all the defendants attacked Brewster’s claims. Lawyers for the police officers said Brewster’s lawsuit left out important facts.

Modena’s answer to the first lawsuit said Brewster completed a single sick-call form two weeks before his collapse, but he declined medical treatment and said he’d wait until he got out of jail to see a doctor. In the latest lawsuit, Brewster accuses Modena of a policy of denying medical care to inmates.

City officials denied that any of Brewster’s rights were violated.

Brewster is seeking damages for mental anguish, past and future medical bills, punitive damages for civil rights violations and other costs.

Sutton’s police report from that day doesn’t say much about Brewster by name. It says Sapp charged Brewster with obstruction and giving false information.

In a different place, however, the report says Sapp struggled with a man who had been trying to run away. Sutton reported that he punched that man two or three times in the head as he struggled with Sapp.

Brewster was arrested on a busy night for the officers. They responded to a tip that a number of men had guns and were selling drugs in an alley near Columbus Road.

Sutton reported that someone shouted “police” as they approached and threw objects over a fence. Police reported finding four bags of marijuana, empty bags, glass pipes, a loose bullet, a stolen handgun and another handgun. Police arrested four people in the episode.

To contact writer Mike Stucka, call 744-4251.

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