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MPD Shooting Review Board Findings April 17 2013

MPD Shooting Review Board Findings April 17 2013

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Macon police shooting review board findings. Sutton Davis Kroger
Macon police shooting review board findings. Sutton Davis Kroger

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Published by: chris_horne_8 on Apr 18, 2013
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08/22/2013

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Macon Police Department, Shooting Review Board Results of Kroger Incident Meeting Date/Report Date: Wednesday, April

17, 2013

Shooting Review Board MPD: Majors Charles Stone, Brady Fields, Tonnie Williams, and Robert Grabowski, and Training Academy Lt. Kelvin Harris Outside law enforcement representation: Captain Brad King, Baldwin County Sheriff’s Office, and Sgt. Michael Clay, Monroe County Sheriff’s Office Citizens: Connie Cater – local businessman, Otis Scarbary – retired Solicitor Others in Attendance: MPD Deputy Chief Mike Carswell, MPD Internal Affairs Director Captain Terry Timley, and MPD PIO Jami Gaudet Shooting Review Board: An independent, objective, internal/external investigative body consisting of 9 voting members charged with determining if MPD Officer Clayton Sutton violated any departmental policies or procedures during the Kroger shooting incident. Presenters: (1) MPD Captain Jimmy Barbee, Internal Affairs Director during incident – outlined the Kroger incident, 400 Pio Nono Avenue on Friday, December 21, 2012. (2) Training Academy Sgt. Mike Bittick – weighed in with the Training Academy perspective, regarding the Use of Force policy taught to all officers. (3) MPD Internal Affairs Lt. Robert Daniel – explained Internal Affairs polices. Board member preparation: All documentation was presented to the board members in a manual each member received approximately one week prior to the convening of the board. This gave each member the opportunity to familiarize himself with all aspects of the incident as well as the facts and evidence in the case. The manual consisted of the original Incident Report, all Supplemental Reports, the GBI Investigation Summary, Witness Statements, Officer Statements, State Crime Lab Reports, State Autopsy Report, MPD Crime Lab Report, MPD Triangulation Data Sheet (measurements and diagrams), MPD Crime Lab Measurements and Disciplinary History of Officer Clayton Sutton. Presentation Material/General Discussion: Captain Jimmy Barbee provided a factual chronology of the incident based on reports, statements, and data. He used photos taken by the GBI and MPD to pinpoint the location of witnesses who provided statements for the investigation. Sgt. Bittick explained the MPD’s Use of Force Policy 150 (city policy). When asked about training officers in “use of force” Sgt. Bittick stated that Georgia law requires a two-hour refresher course annually for all officers. However, MPD’s internal policy mandates that officers complete an 8-hour block of “use of force” instruction each year. The issue of “preventing bias policing” was mentioned by MPD Major Robert Grabowski. It was pointed out that MPD was dispatched to the scene for a specific panhandling incident after Davis frightened an older shopper and she reported him to E-911. This was not a random officer/citizen encounter and Davis fit the suspect’s description.

Discussion ensued about how quickly the incident turned tragic. Although it was mentioned that Sammy Davis, Jr. was several inches taller and outweighed Officer Sutton by over 100 lbs., the disparity in their sizes, alone, did not cause Officer Sutton to shoot Davis. Rather, a combination of actions by Davis (refusal to remove his left hand from his pocket, lunging at the officer, and ultimately, cutting his neck) caused Officer Sutton to fear for his life and shoot him. The number of shots fired also was broached. Sgt. Mike Bittick stated that officers who believe their lives are in danger are trained to keep shooting until the threat is removed. Even after being shot three times, Davis remained standing for several seconds as Officer Sutton gave verbal commands for him to sit on the sidewalk. Businessman Connie Cater asked when in-car cameras are activated. Major Charles Stone replied that the cameras are activated when the car’s blue lights are engaged. In this situation, Officer Sutton was merely responding to a non-emergency call for panhandling, so his in-car camera was not activated. However, he had manually activated the system to capture as much of the incident as possible because once activated, in-car cameras capture the 30 seconds prior to activation. Major Stone added that an officer trying to hide his actions would not activate his in-car camera under any circumstances. Officer Sutton was cleared of any criminal wrongdoing by Bibb County District Attorney David Cooke on the recommendation of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation. Findings: The Shooting Review Board met for over one hour and 30 minutes and voted 9 – 0; from a policy and procedural standpoint, the shooting of Sammy Davis, Jr. was justified because Officer Sutton felt his life was in danger and/or physical bodily harm was imminent. The MPD will be incorporating this into all future officer trainings so they can learn from this unfortunate incident. The board found one minor policy violation by Officer Sutton, and that was not notifying E-911 that he arrived on the scene. Per the Macon/Bibb Communications Section 1410 (K – 2) in the MPD Operations Manual: “An officer shall notify dispatchers upon arrival at location of each assigned call.” Disciplinary Recommendation for Officer Clayton Sutton: A written reprimand is the consensus of opinion by the MPD board members for the policy infraction of not notifying E-911 when he arrived on the scene.

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