“Do not condemn the judgment of another because it differs from your own. You may both be wrong.”
The case in the shooting death of Sammie Davis Jr., by Macon Police Officer Clayton Sutton on December 21, 2012, has finally been determined justified 81 days later. It’s been a long, torturous process begun by the Macon Police Department, handed over to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation and may head to the U.S. Justice Department if Bibb County Commissioner Joe Allen and City Councilman Henry Gibson, a retired MPD detective, have their way.
District Attorney David Cooke, in a press conference Tuesday, made the case that Officer Sutton was in fear of his life when he shot Davis three times. Davis had a history of schizophrenia and was not on his medication. Apparently, the 911 call on that fateful day came from a woman Davis had frightened. Davis also had a previous violent confrontation with the store manager at the same Kroger on Pio Nono Avenue in 2010.
This probably ends the legal worries of Officer Sutton, however, the mayor’s office and police department in a joint media release said it will begin its own shooting review and analysis to see if “all applicable Macon Police Department policies and procedures were followed.”
The families of Davis and Sutton have been through hell, while Davis is dead, Sutton must live with the fact that he took another human being’s life on the mistaken thought that Davis had a knife. That’s another reason every officer should be equipped with a Taser. Given Davis’ state of mind, even if Sutton had another option beside pulling his service weapon, that may or may not have saved Davis’ life.
Those who believe the shooting unjustified should read the report which has been made available to anyone who asks. It’s understandable that many are confused and angry. Some of the media reports have done nothing to shed light on the case -- rather the reports have served to inflame an already tense situation.
Some of the angst could have been avoided if the police department had been more forthcoming about the supposed warrant (meant for a Chucky Davis) or where the 911 call originated. The police allowed events to handcuff them to their own detriment and to that of the public they are sworn to protect.