Demetrice Martin addresses the panel at the public forum Saturday. Martin said her 8-year-old child was handcuffed by a Macon police officer. The forum was organized by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People President and the Federal Justice Department Saturday in the fellowship hall at Unionville Missionary Baptist Church and gave citizens a place to air the grievances about the Macon Police Department.
WOODY MARSHALL — firstname.lastname@example.org
By HAROLD GOODRIDGE — email@example.com
Edward Davenport said he was so concerned about complaints surrounding Macon police officer Clayton Sutton, that he pulled files on the officer and shared them with Macon Mayor Robert Reichert in October.
The officer shot and killed an unarmed Sammie “Junebug” Davis Jr. on Dec. 21 at the Kroger on Pio Nono Avenue.
Davenport and about 60 residents attended a community forum Saturday at Unionville Missionary Baptist Church to voice concerns about the Macon Police Department. The forum, spurred by Davis’ death, was organized by the Macon chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and the U.S. Department of Justice.
“Once I had an incident with the Macon police, I decided, because of my experience working as an intern at a D.A.’s office, to start pulling the records of some of the police officers whose names kept coming up that had problems with police brutality in the black community,” Davenport said, adding that one of the two officers was Sutton.
After pulling complaint reports on the officers, “I handed this information to the mayor of Macon and explained to him that these are some officers he needs to be concerned about and these are things he may not know about,” Davenport said, adding that Reichert told him he was going to do some investigating.
Davenport said he makes a point to regularly attend the mayor’s open office sessions the second Monday of every month to discuss issues and complaints. After Sutton killed Davis, Davenport returned to Reichert’s office.
“I told him I was very disappointed in his actions,” he said. “Now you have an individual that has died by this police officer.”
The GBI ruled the shooting as justified.
Reichert, who was not at Saturday’s forum, said through mayoral spokesman Chris Floore that he couldn’t remember specifically when or if Davenport brought concerns about Sutton to his office.
“We have 600 (911) calls at that particular Kroger, not all in relation to Sammie Davis,” said Gwenette Westbrooks, Macon NAACP president. “If you have that many 911 calls, what happened that particular day that didn’t happen (other days)? We’re still investigating. … It’s not over by far.
“The NAACP has had numerous complaints against the (Macon) police department about racial profiling … and the conduct of police in our neighborhoods,” Westbrooks added. “And when citizens file complaints, we’re finding that little is done.”
Gladys McCoy also addressed attendants at the forum. She said she was at the Kroger on Dec. 21 and saw Sutton shoot Davis. “I was there from beginning to end,” she said. McCoy observed Sutton sitting in his cruiser talking to Davis. “He (Sutton) asked him (Davis) what he had in his pockets and he said ‘nothing,’” McCoy said. “When the officer got out of his car, he (Davis) stepped back. The officer was by the trunk of the (police) car.
“Both of (Davis’) hands were in the air and the officer started shooting,” McCoy said. She said she gave her statement to a Macon police detective and the GBI, who came to her house.
When she got the opportunity to see what the GBI’s written statement contained on her testimony, McCoy said she was disturbed by what she read. “It said something I didn’t say. … I will not lie for anyone, black or white,” she said during the meeting.
When Theresa Thomas, who also attended the forum, heard about Sutton killing Davis, she reflected on her experience with the officer. “I had an incident with Mr. Sutton I think a week or so before Mr. Davis was shot,” she said. Her child was having a feud with a neighbor’s child and the neighbor called police, Thomas said. “When Sutton came, I tried to explain (what happened). My daughter was being bullied. He (Sutton) called me a dumb a– and a stupid a–.”
Thomas said she filed a complaint with the department and received a letter saying the case is under investigation.
Woman says her 8-year-old handcuffed by officer
A tearful Demetrice Martin addressed the forum about her son’s experience with Macon police. She said 8-year-old Ethan was riding his scooter around their residence at the Overlook Garden apartments when the child noticed a dog on a balcony. He tossed some pinecones towards the balcony to get the dog’s attention, Martin said.
The balcony was the home of Macon police officer Justin Fox.
“He (Fox) came to our door,” Martin said. When she opened the door the officer began shouting at the boy, “turn around and put your hands behind your back,” Martin said. She said the child was handcuffed. “I said what are you doing? He’s only 8. (Fox) said ‘my girlfriend texted me and said you were throwing crap at my house. I can have you thrown out of here.’
“I asked him to take the handcuffs off my baby. … He’s traumatized over this. He has to go to therapy,” Martin said.
Westbrooks said the NAACP is well aware of the case and filed a complaint on Martin’s behalf.
“Not only should that officer be fired, he needs to be charged,” said Edward DuBose, Georgia State Conference NAACP president, who also attended the forum. “He used his position to harass you and your child. He abused his power.”
To contact writer Harold Goodridge, call 744-4382.