Police request alleged brutality suit be heard in federal court

awomack@macon.comJanuary 27, 2014 

Defendants in a lawsuit, filed by a man who alleges a Macon police officer struck him in the head with a flashlight, have requested the matter be moved to federal jurisdiction.

Jimmy Brewster filed the complaint late last year in Bibb County Superior Court claiming officer Clayton Sutton knocked him unconscious during a July 22, 2010, confrontation. The suit also names 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 as defendants.

The defendants contend Brewster’s complaint alleges a federal constitutional tort claim of cruel and unusual punishment. It also alleges state law claims of “intentional infliction of emotional distress, intentional denial of medical care, and negligent infliction of emotional distress” from the same incident involved in the federal claims, according to their request filed Friday in U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Georgia.

Federal prosecutors announced in December there wasn’t enough evidence to prosecute Sutton for civil rights violations in a Dec. 21, 2012, fatal shooting outside a Macon Kroger. The district attorney ruled the shooting was justified.

Brewster filed a previous version of his lawsuit in 2012.

Lawyers for police officers have said Brewster’s suit left out important facts and city officials denied that Brewster’s rights were violated. Modena has said Brewster completed a sick-call form two weeks before his collapse, but he declined medical treatment.

Information from Telegraph archives was used in this report. To contact writer Amy Leigh Womack, call 744-4398.

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