Clayton County Sheriff's Deputy Rick Daly was killed in the line of duty last July.
Dozens of Clayton County sheriff’s deputies and other courthouse workers gathered in front of the courthouse Friday morning to watch the unveiling of the name of one of their own on the Georgia Police Memorial Wall.
Deputy Rick Daly, 55, is the first countywide office in Clayton County to die by gunfire in the line of duty. He died July 20 after being shot during a felony traffic stop in Riverdale. Accused shooter Jonathan Bun, 17, is being held without bond in the Henry County Jail awaiting trial on murder and other charges.
Sheriff’s Chaplain Stan Owen presided over the ceremony. He described Daly as a man who was filled with love and compassion.
“He gave a lot of love to all of us,” said Owen. “He was a man who had great compassion. He was full of love that went beyond the norm. That was the man Rick Daly was.”
Daly’s wife, Cheryl, and children, Fayette County sheriff’s Lt. Toby Daly, and daughter, Amber Daly Wright, attended the ceremony with other relatives and supporters. Toby Daly spoke briefly on behalf of his family.
“We appreciate your support,” he said. “Thank y’all for coming out.”
The Georgia Police Memorial Wall pays tribute to every law enforcement officer in the state killed in the line of duty since 1752 with the death of Marshal Robert Forsyth. Daly’s name joins 669 others, said Ed Christian, a retired Atlanta police officer and president of the Georgia Blue Knights Chapter VII.
“They were killed because they went to work that day,” said Christian. “Man, that’s a lot of names on that wall. That’s not just one officer. Or two or three.”
Many observers bowed their heads and wiped away tears. But Sheriff Kem Kimbrough took to the podium and told the crowd that Daly wouldn’t want to be the source of their sadness.
“I’ve locked away the grief I’ve seen and felt because I know where Rick is,” said Kimbrough. “He’s looking down on us every day. He’s not left us. There is a lot of pain we could focus on but I don’t think that’s what Rick wanted. Put a smile on your faces. He’d want to see us smiling and knowing we are all OK.”
Kimbrough said anyone wearing the badge of law enforcement for the right reasons is wearing it out of love for all humanity.
“That’s the true characterization of this badge,” he said. “If you’re doing the job right, you’re doing it for love.”
After the ceremony, Owen led Cheryl, Toby and Amber and the rest of their family to the wall. Cheryl pulled the tape off the space where her husband’s name has been posted. She and her children held hands, wiped away tears and stared at the name of the man they all loved and lost. The song, “Heroes and Angels,” played quietly through speakers on the courthouse steps.
The song, written by Brian Littrell, includes the lyrics:
“Thank you for laying it all on the line
Protecting our freedom, restoring our pride
For going through hell so we wouldn’t have to
Thank you for standing for all we believe
For holding your ground when the world was in need
For giving your heart and your soul to the red, white and blue
When I think of heroes and angels, I think of you.”
In addition to Kimbrough, Chief Deputy Garland Watkins, Clayton County police Chief Greg Porter, police deputy chiefs Chris Butler and Tim Robinson; police sergeants Otis Willis III and Tracy Jakes; Clayton County District Attorney Tracy Graham Lawson and Executive Assistant District Attorney Erman Tanjuatco; and Clayton Solicitor General Tasha Mosley were among the local officials who attended the ceremony.
Lawson, who as a Juvenile Court judge revoked Bun’s probation and ordered him committed for the maximum of two years to the state Department of Juvenile Justice, recused herself from his prosecution. She was in tears at the end of the ceremony and shared a hug with an equally emotional Mosley. Mosley’s thoughts turned to the senseless loss of Daly’s life, allegedly at the hands of a teenager in trouble since the age of 10.
“We shouldn’t be here,” said Mosley. “We just shouldn’t have to be here.”