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Friday, March 15, 2013 - 11:00am

Family Seeks Federal Probe In Shooting

The family of a Macon man killed by police in December is asking federal authorities to get involved, after Bibb County District Attorney David Cooke announced earlier this week that he would file no charges against officer Clayton Sutton.

Cheryl Davis, flanked by politicians and protesters at a news conference Friday, spoke lovingly of her brother Sammie, a large man with a history of mental illness who spent most of his days in front of the Kroger store where he died.

Results of Georgia Bureau of Investigation inquiry released this week show the incident began when a 911 caller reported that Davis was panhandling aggressively. Officer Clayton Sutton arrived on scene and a struggle ensued that ended with three shots fired.

Cooke determined that the shooting was "tragic but justifiable," however Cheryl Davis wants the Justice Department to investigate if her brother's civil rights were violated.

"Please do not go away from here today thinking that we are here because the killer is white, and the victim is black," Davis read from prepared remarks. "We are here because a policeman used poor judgment, didn’t follow protocol, and shot an unarmed man."

At the same news conference, Macon City Councilor Henry Gibson criticized Cooke's handling of the case, saying the D.A. should have at least allowed a grand jury to consider making a charge of involuntary manslaughter.

"I just feel that officer Sutton had the ample time to call his superiors, to call for back-up, and restrain Mr. Davis and put him in a hospital," said Gibson, himself a retired Macon police captain.

While Sutton has been cleared of any criminal wrongdoing, police continue to investigate whether he acted in accordance with departmental policy.

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