DULUTH - Former Duluth police officer Jay Dailey's alleged gunfight with a uniformed officer last year wasn't his first violent clash with police, according to documents obtained by the Gwinnett Daily Post this week.
Hours before dawn on Sunday, Sept. 21, 2003, two Gwinnett police officers were forced to wrestle Dailey to the ground, handcuff him and involuntarily commit him to Gwinnett Medical Center after he armed himself with several guns and drunkenly threatened to harm his neighbors and kill himself, according to a Gwinnett police report obtained through an open records request.
"C'mon," an officer wrote that a highly intoxicated Dailey told police, "I just wanna blow my (expletive) brains out."
During that incident, Dailey was employed as a deputy with the Fulton County Sheriff's Department, and among the arsenal he flashed to neighbors was his department-issued handgun, he told police.
Within roughly a year of that night, Dailey was hired by the Duluth Police Department and issued a weapon, officials have said.
Dailey, 43, has been jailed in Gwinnett since last February. He awaits trial on charges he assaulted a female motorist Feb. 1 in the middle of a Sugar Hill roadway, pointed a pistol at two bystanders, then shot and severely injured off-duty Fulton County police Cpl. Paul Phillips when he stopped to help.
Phillips and the motorist, Leresa Graham, are suing Dailey, police officials who hired him and the city of Duluth.
Graham's attorney, Chad Adams, said Duluth officials erred when they hired a mentally unstable officer with such a checkered past.
"This case is going to end up being about government negligence," said Adams. "This guy (Dailey) was a ticking time bomb."
According to the 2003 report, Dailey threatened to break a responding officer's nose, tried to kick out the rear window of a patrol car and later tried to beat up hospital security guards at GMC.
"He told us that he wanted to be with Jesus," one officer wrote, "and he asked if we wanted to be with Jesus."
A representative at the hospital could not verify or provide further information about Dailey's 2003 stay, citing federal patient privacy laws.
It's unclear if the incident led to Dailey's dismissal from the Fulton County agency. A representative with the Sheriff's Department said no disciplinary files exist for Dailey, following an open records request by the Daily Post last March.
Officials have not said exactly when Duluth police hired Dailey, only that he was a five-year veteran when the alleged shootout happened on Feb. 1 last year.
Investigators have said Dailey was 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 vodka that morning and taking anti-depressants Prozac and Lexapro.
Harvey Gray, an attorney representing Duluth and its police, did not return a phone call Tuesday afternoon. Duluth police officials have declined comment on the pending litigation.
In a response to Phillips' suit filed last week, the city's attorneys called for the suit to be dismissed, claiming the city and its police leaders are immune from paying damages because Dailey was off-duty during the incident.
At the time of his arrest, Duluth officials called Dailey an exemplary officer without a known blemish on his record.
Three years prior to the shooting, Dailey took a one-month leave of absence from Duluth police "to address personal issues related to his overall emotional well-being," the response says.