Fomer Creola Police Officer Pleads Guilty to Depriving Arrestee of Civil Rights by Use of Unreasonable Force

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FILE PHOTO: Signage is seen at the United States Department of Justice headquarters in Washington, D.C.

MOBILE, AL – A former City of Creola police officer pleaded guilty today to depriving a man of his right to be free from the use of unreasonable force while in custody.

According to court documents filed in connection with his guilty plea, on April 21, 2021, Gary Lynn Davis, 54, of Creola, while acting as a City of Creola police officer, struck an arrestee in the face with his knee while the arrestee, identified by his initials J.B., was on his knees with shackles on his wrists and ankles.  The blow knocked out one of J.B.’s teeth and caused vision issues.  At the time of the incident, J.B. had been held on traffic violations for about four days and had become loud and unruly in the city jail.  J.B. had money in his bank account to make bond but could not arrange for someone outside the jail to access his account.  Davis threatened to put J.B. in a straitjacket, which the department had, but instead belly-chained J.B.’s wrists to his waist and shackled his ankles. J.B. complied with Davis’s demands to get into position so that Davis could shackle him.  There was also another officer who was available to assist Davis in getting J.B. under control but Davis did not call him.  When J.B. continued to be unruly Davis went next door to the city fire department and borrowed a rope.  Davis then unsuccessfully attempted to hog tie J.B. J.B. resisted and the two wrestled on the floor.  Davis also attempted unsuccessfully to choke J.B. to try to render him unconscious.  A surveillance camera captured the struggle. Then Davis stood up in the cell doorway for a few seconds as J.B. knelt before him. The surveillance camera then captured Davis deliver a forceful blow to J.B.’s face with his knee.  Davis’s blow sent J.B. careening backwards and he writhed in pain on the floor.  When the police chief and another officer found out about the incident, the officer took J.B. to an ATM and allowed him to withdraw money to make bail.  The officer then took J.B. to a city magistrate and he made bail.
 
The Alabama Law Enforcement Agency (ALEA) conducted an investigation of the incident, which then referred it to FBI Mobile for further investigation and consideration for federal prosecution.  Davis faces state charges of Assault, Second Degree, and Attempted Murder, arising from the incident.

Davis pleaded guilty to depriving J.B. of the right to be free of the deprivation of liberty without due process of law, which includes the right to be free from the use of unreasonable force by a law enforcement officer. He is scheduled to be sentenced on August 29, 2022, and faces 10 years in prison. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

U.S. Attorney Sean P. Costello of the Southern District of Alabama and the FBI made the announcement.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Alex Lankford is prosecuting the case on behalf of the United States.