On Saturday, March 16, a conciliation specialist from the U.S. Department of Justice along with the Macon branch of the NAACP jointly held a forum in an effort to facilitate an open dialogue about concerns from the Sammie Davis, Jr. case.
On Tuesday, March 12, Macon-area District Attorney David Cooke declined to pursue charges against Macon Police office Clayton Sutton and ruled the shooting a 'justifiable' homicide.
On Friday, March 15, the sister of Sammie Davis, Jr. said that the family is exploring other legal options which include requesting the U.S. Attorney Michael Moore to forward this case to the Justice Department.
Over the past year, there have been high profile cases of unarmed African-American males being gunned down. One example is last year's Trayvon Martin case.
Even though the Sammie Davis, Jr. dominated the discussion, a broader discussion about the strained relationship between the African-American community and the local police department became the main theme.
The coordinator of the Friday's protest march, Daryl Jackson, spoke to Macon's WMGT-TV on Friday and said the following:
"We've been dealing with situations in our community for a long time and the people have been crying out about injustice," Daryl Jackson said. "Its sad that it took Sammie Davis' death to shed light on other issues with law enforcement in our community."
Were Sammie Davis, Jr's. civil rights violated? What can the Macon Police Department do to help facilitate trust in the community moving forward?
Several dozen people attended the meeting an members of the community told personal stories in regard to their encounters with the Macon police.
"I did expect emotions to run today, and actually I got kind of emotional myself with the stories that I heard," said Gwenette Westbrook, President of NAACP's Macon Branch.
The Community Relations Service (CRS), a component of the U.S. Department of Justice, is a specialized Federal conciliation service available to State and local officials to help resolve and prevent racial and ethnic conflict. CRS offers its services to governors, mayors, police chiefs and school officials in their efforts to defuse racial crises. CRS assists local officials and residents design locally defined resolutions when conflict and violence threaten community stability and well-being.
As directed by the Civil Rights Act of 1964, CRS conciliators use specialized crisis management and violence reduction techniques to provide assistance in identifying the sources of conflict and violence and creating a more cohesive community environment. CRS has no law enforcement authority and does not impose solutions, investigate or prosecute cases, or assign blame or fault.