Mayor's State of City address ambushed by protesters
Macon Mayor Robert Reichert's State of the City Address was disrupted Thursday, after a group of protesters attended the speech at City Hall. An hour earlier in the day protesters held a rally across the street from City Hall calling for the ouster of Reichert and Macon Police Chief Mike Burns.
The protesters say they're seeking justice for Sammie "Junebug" Davis Jr. A 49-year-old Macon man, who was reportedly unarmed when he was shot in the chest three times, and killed by a Macon Police officer. The shooting, which took place more than a month ago, is still under investigation by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation.
Since the incident it was discovered the officer involved, Clayton Sutton, has a lengthy disciplinary record, and many believe he should not have still remained on the force. Protesters accuse Chief Mike Burns of mismanagement, and they're accusing Mayor Reichert of not holding Burns accountable.
Immediately following the shooting police said the officer was serving a warrant, but that information turned out to be false. The department then backtracked saying the officer was responding to a call for service. No explanation has been given to why incorrect information was given out, and police have since refused to comment.
During a question and answer session at the end Reichert's address WGXA's Shonti Tager asked Reichert to address the misinformation.
"That's exactly what we want to avoid in this case, we don't want to put out information that is mistaken ... which is exactly why we don't want to make a mistake like that again," Reichert said before being cut-off by protesters.
Organizers of the protests which consisted of around 40 people say they want Mayor Reichert and Police Chief Mike Burns held responsible not only for the shooting death but also for the misinformation afterward, and the seeming unwillingness to answer questions about department policy from Macon City Council members.
"Why mister mayor and Mr. Burns have you not addressed the city personally either on radio or on video and on the news," asked community activist Irving Martinez.
"It don't seem like there's been leadership, that's why we here right here, right now, because there is no leadership, there's been no justice, somebody going to have to stick their hand in the city of Macon and pull out justice," said protester Kimberly Patrick.
Reichert says an explanation for the release of misinformation may compromise the ongoing investigation into the shooting, and he urged people to remain patient, and to respect Macon Police officers.
"The police make an honest effort to put out information through the PIO, and appropriate information is released as soon as possible," Reichert said.