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Documents: Duluth aware of alcoholism
City denies blame in cop's actions

LAWRENCEVILLE - Duluth city officials were privy to former officer Jay Dailey's bouts with alcoholism - for which he received treatment in 2005 - long before he allegedly lashed out against citizens and a fellow officer in a bloody confrontation last year, according to documents filed by the city's attorneys.

Officials are denying blame for Dailey's actions, however, stressing that he wasn't on duty when he reportedly beat a motorist and shot the officer in the middle of a Sugar Hill road Feb. 1.

Prior to Dailey rejoining the department after alcohol treatment, the documents say, he was cleared to do so by medical personnel.

These revelations come from a response filed by attorneys representing Duluth in reaction to two lawsuits lodged by Dailey's alleged victims, who are seeking unspecified settlements for medical bills and emotional distress.

Dailey is accused of assaulting Leresa Graham as she drove to work on Level Creek Road, pointing a pistol at two bystanders, then shooting and severely injuring off-duty Fulton County police Cpl. Paul Phillips when he stopped to help.

Attorneys representing the city were not available for comment Wednesday. Duluth police officials have declined to comment on the pending litigation.

A lawsuit filed by Graham and her husband in December alleges:

· Dailey, doubled-over as if in pain, flagged her down with his Duluth-issued police badge on the side of the road the morning of the alleged incident.

· When she called 911, Dailey slapped the cell phone from her hands, stating she "was going to ruin my career."

· Dailey doused her in pepper spray, then struck her in the face with the empty can, threatening to kill her.

Graham's attorney, Chad Adams, said she incurred severe chemicals burns to her face and has suffered from post-traumatic-stress disorder.

Investigators have said Dailey could have been binge-drinking earlier that morning, which may have triggered his reported meltdown.

Phillips, the wounded officer, claims in his suit that Dailey admitted to drinking copious amounts of Absolut Vodka that morning and taking anti-depressants Prozac and Lexapro.

Phillips' suit further claims that Duluth police Chief Randy Belcher and others negligently hired Dailey in spite of past troubles. Dailey was a five-year veteran before his termination last February.

At the time of his arrest, Duluth police officials called Dailey an upstanding officer without a blemish on his record. He remains in the Gwinnett County Jail without bond. He pleaded not guilty in June to 11 counts, including four counts of aggravated assault.