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Former Creola police officer faces federal charge over alleged inmate beating

Gary Lynn Davis.
Gary Lynn Davis.(Mobile County Metro Jail)
Published: May. 18, 2022 at 5:03 PM CDT
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MOBILE, Ala. (WALA) - A former Creola police officer appeared in federal court Wednesday to answer charges in connection with the beating an inmate in the city jail.

A federal magistrate judge ordered Davis to pay a portion of the cost of his court-appointed lawyer and indicated that that she would set the case for an arraignment next week. The charge, deprivation of rights under color of law, comes as an “information,” a mechanism to bypass a grand jury and usually used when a defendant and prosecutors have worked out a plea agreement prior to indictment.

Davis, 55, also faces an attempted murder charge in Mobile County Circuit Court stemming from the same incident.

Police dispatched officers to a local business on April 16 last year for a report of a suspicious person. Davis, one of the responding officers, saw a man identified in court papers as J.B. sitting in a pickup truck.

Davis, court records show, found J.B. had contraband and took him in to custody. Davis took the man to jail and booked him on traffic warrants.

J.B. spent 4½ days in jail and, although he has enough money to pay the bail, was unable to make arrangements with someone on the outside. Court records indicate that J.B. became agitated as time went by and kicked and hit the cell door and cried loudly. He also banged his head against the door.

Davis removed the inmate from a cell that had a chair and put him in the “drunk tank,” and shackled him, prosecutors allege.

J.B. offered no resistance to the officer but continued to bang his head and kicked the door and cry out, according to the allegations. Prosecutors allege Davis went out to the parking lot, got a long red rope from a fire truck and told one of the police dispatchers that he was going to “hog tie” the prisoner.

Prosecutors contend that when he went back inside the cell, he shoved J.B. against the wall, grabbed him by the throat and back of his neck, and threw him onto the mat. He then tried to hog-tie the prisoner, according to the allegations.

J.B. resisted, and as they struggled, Davis tried to punch the inmate’s face, according to the allegations. Authorities contend he followed up by putting J.B. in a sleeper/choke hold for several seconds. Surveillance footage from the jail shows Davis striking the prisoner’s face with his knee.

J.B. writhed in pain on a mat on the floor and appeared to lose consciousness, according to the allegations.

Court records suggest Davis expressed remorse when questioned by the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency. “I guess I really messed up and will have to pay for it,” he said at one point.”

Later, according to court records, he said, “I guess I gave everyone a black eye on this one.”

Prosecutors contend that J.B. lost a tooth during the beating and suffered swelling and pain to the left eye where the officer kneed him.

Davis at first denied to investigators that he had physical contact with the inmate and then claimed that J.B. had taken a “fighting stance” against him when they were in the drunk tank together. But the surveillance video contradicts that, according to prosecutors.

Davis also claimed that he did not use excessive force and kept his temper under control. But then he told investigators that he did not remember part of what happened and may have “flipped a switch.”

Davis seemed to grasp the strength of the evidence against him.

“It sounds like you guys have an airtight case,” he said, according to court records.

Reporter Stephen Moody contributed to this story.

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