Former Creola officer pleads guilty to beating inmate
Gary Lynn Davis, 55, entered his plea in federal court to deprivation of rights under color of law. He faces up to 10 years in prison, although prosecutors have agreed to recommend leniency in exchange for the guilty plea.
Davis admitted that found a man identified in court papers as J.B. had contraband and took him in to custody. The officer 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, kick the door and cry out, according to the allegations. 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, according to the defendant’s plea agreement.
Davis admitted 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 attempted to hog-tie the prisoner.
J.B. resisted, and as they struggled, Davis tried to punch the inmate’s face. He admitted that 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 plea agreement.
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.”
J.B. lost a tooth during the beating and suffered swelling and pain to the left eye where the officer kneed him, according to the plea agreement.
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 defendants.
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.
Chief U.S. District Judge Jeffrey Beaverstock set sentencing for Aug. 29.
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