Ex-Creola police officer pleads guilty to assaulting inmate

Attempted murder charge to be dropped as part of plea bargain with prosecutors
Published: Sep. 14, 2023 at 11:20 AM CDT
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MOBILE, Ala. (WALA) - An ex-Creola police officer accepted a plea bargain Thursday in connection with an assault on an inmate at the municipal jail in 2021.

Gary Lynn Davis, 56, pleaded guilty to second-degree assault in exchange for an attempted murder charge being dropped.

Davis pleaded guilty last year to a federal charge arising from the same incident on May 21, 2021.

The victim had been booked on traffic warrants 4½ days earlier. Prosecutors alleged that Davis, frustrated by the defendant’s behavior in his cell, shoved him against the wall, grabbed him by the throat and back of the neck and then attempted to hog-tie him.

“Certainly, it was a serious situation,” Mobile County District Attorney Keith Blackwood said. “And Gary Davis has now been held accountable for that. … There’s no question that Davis knocked out the tooth of the victim., who was an inmate at the jail, and that’s (a) reprehensible act.”

Blackwood called the plea deal “an appropriate resolution.” He said his office also would ask that the state organization that certifies law enforcement officers yank the defendant’s certification.

Defense attorney Bucky Thomas says the plea deal brings to a close the last remaining charges against Davis. That includes a kidnapping charge that also will be dismissed.

“It’s a resolution,” he said. “You know, these officers that are (in) high-stressful jobs – they come across these, you know, individuals on a daily basis,” he said. “You hate to say it’s a work hazard, or part of the job, but almost is.”

Under the plea bargain, Davis will serve 30 days in jail, with the remainder of the five-year prison term suspended. He will be on probation for two years. He already is under supervision by the U.S. Probation Office as part of his sentence in the federal case, where he pleaded guilty to deprivation of rights under color of law.

Mobile County Circuit Judge Ben Brooks withheld sentencing until Sept. 28 to give authorities time to arrange for a jail where Davis will serve his sentence. Thomas told the judge that there are safety concerns associated with Davis serving his time at Mobile County Metro Jail because of his work as a police officer in the county.

Blackwood said the attempted murder charge handed up by the grand jury was based on the defendant’s use of a rope.

“By all accounts, it looks like he was trying to bind the prisoner,” he said. “At some point, the rope was around the prisoner’s neck for a split second, slipped straight down, and then the altercation was over.”

Updated at 2:18 p.m. with comments from Mobile County District Attorney Keith Blackwood.