As we all know crap rolls downhill and today Sheriff Davis decided to let some others down the chain of command who were more directly responsible take some of the heat. He laid down the law to others in the chain of command that had an opportunity and a duty to make smarter decisions on the night shots were fired at three fishermen on Lake Tobesofkee.
Specifically Sheriff Davis singled out Corporal Eric Avery, Lieutenant Wilton Collins, Captain Chris Patterson, Major Charles Stone, Colonel Henderson Carswell, and Chief of Staff David Montford. That is a total of six additional personnel reprimanded in addition to deputies Theodore Gaines and Salim Abouchanab who answered the original call that evening. Both deputies were former Macon City Police officers and were ordered to take remedial training as well as being transferred to jail duty.
The front line supervisor Corporal Eric Avery was demoted to line duty for failing to ask his superiors for advice in this incident. The key takeaway here is the deputies had claimed they never contacted a supervisor. So either they contacted Avery by a cellphone or radio from outside the Ghali home immediately after speaking to Dr. Ghali or did so at some point later. Otherwise Avery would not have been demoted had he not known about this incident.
Sheriff Davis “While the patrol deputies were clearly derelict in their duties to the citizens of Bibb County by their inaction and clearly demonstrated their ineptitude in the knowledge of basic criminal procedure, they cannot be blamed entirely,” Davis wrote. “This incident has left me with grave concerns about your ability to be a leader and a supervisor.”
In addition to the letter to Corporal Eric Avery, five others higher in the chain of command were also reprimanded or disciplined.
Lt. Wilton Collins: The sheriff wrote that he failed to stay aware of what his subordinates were doing and failed to provide supervisory guidance. “You let the officer and citizens of Bibb County down by your failure to supervise,” Davis wrote. Collins was removed from the sheriff’s law-enforcement unit and moved to court services. He was also ordered to undergo training.
Major Charles Stone “What was proven that night is there is a serious problem with supervision and management within your district, and that is unacceptable,” Davis wrote.”Effective immediately, you are transferred to the detention center.” He was also ordered to take remedial training.
Col. Henderson Carswell and Chief of Staff David Montford: They were not disciplined, but received letters warning them about management problems in the department.”I have taken steps to address the failings of the district leadership in this matter,” wrote Davis. “I hope that you will use this incident as a reminder that you need to remain abreast of the actions of your subordinates. You should be ready to take remedial and punitive actions against anyone who fails to do their sworn and supervisory duties.”
Deputy Abouchanab has been previously reprimanded three other times going back to 2010. He began as A Macon City police officer in 2008. Two were more minor, not signing a timesheet and missing magistrate court. The third incident was for rude behavior at a traffic stop.
Deputy Gaines has received counseling after a car accident though it is unclear why that was necessary. In another incident he was reprimanded for using offensive language at a supervisor.
The Ball is Now in your Court D.A. Cooke
Something tells me that the District Attorney Cooke is now in the pressure cooker. It is time he sat in the hot seat and will need to tread carefully should he choose not to strengthen the severity of the charges given public sentiment and an uneasiness about safety at Lake Tobesofkee with a new water park scheduled to open this summer.
The district attorney can elevate the charges beyond recklessness if he so chooses. I suspect if he truly has ambitions to a higher office this will be a make or break moment towards that goal. What he chooses to do will likely greatly impact those ambitions. It will also not be soon forgotten by voters in Bibb or throughout the state who are following this case very closely.
Below you can read the actual letters written by Sheriff Davis.