New Rules Shake Up Macon Police Brass, Threaten Delay in Internal Findings on Davis Police Shooting

6:42 AM, Mar 29, 2013   |    comments
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New rules passed by the Macon City Council will change part of the upper management of the police department and add two civilians to shooting review boards for police killings.

The council passed in a 14-0 vote a bill supported by Public Safety Chair Virgil Watkins that would provide more citizen input by adding two citizens to the board.  

"I thought the new law was important because they brought the public into the process and created transparency that was needed to bring back the integrity and trust of our police department," Watkins said.

The bill would also end Capt. Jimmy Barbee's term as Police Internal Affairs Director on Monday, April 1 and requires a new Internal Affairs director every six months.

Macon Mayor Robert Reichert indicated he would allow the bill to become law. But he says adapting to the new rules could delay a result in the police department's internal affairs investigation into the death of Sammie Davis, Jr. He was shot to death by Officer Clayton Sutton outside a supermarket in December 2012.

District Attorney David Cooke said the shooting was justified and Sutton will not face criminal charges. But the internal police review will decide whether Sutton faces any administrative sanctions.

Reichert says he would rather have had more community involvement without shaking up police leadership.

"It would have been my preference to have a stronger citizen review rather than to try to reconstitute the internal affairs division of the police department," says Reichert. 

The new rules for police oversight will also delay planned community forums on relations between police and the public.

Reichert says he will allow Deputy Police Chief Mike Carswell to appoint the new internal affairs director, and that his office will select the two members of the community who will serve on the board.

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