Cody Richard Griggers of Montrose, Georgia has pleaded guilty to a federal weapons charge. While Griggers expressed remorse for illegally possessing a firearm, his attorney, Keith Fitzgerald, expressed outrage regarding other accusations made against his client. A recent federal investigation claimed Griggers, a former sheriff's deputy, racially discriminated against Black residents while working in Wilkinson County.
"Those inflammatory allegations are merely that -- allegations," Fitzgerald told CNN.
"He is not a bigot or a racist."
While working in Wilkinson County, Griggers allegedly wanted to charge Black residents with felonies in an effort to keep them from voting. Reports also suggest that Griggers beat a Black man and then described his actions as "sweet stress relief."
“It’s a sign of beautiful things to come,” Griggers texted a group of police officers, according to the FBI.
“Also I’m going to charge them with whatever felonies I can to take away their ability to vote.”
As the report dives deeper, specific incidents of racial discrimination are identified. In August 2019, Griggers allegedly accused a Black man of stealing a firearm accessory from a local store. He then beat the man and bragged about it through text.
“I beat the s--- out of a n-----Saturday," federal investigators claim Griggers texted.
"Sheriff's dept said it look [sic] like he fell."
Sheriff Richard Chatman has backed his former employee. He told the Macon Telegraph that the gun store incident "never happened."
"That never happened," he said.
"We don't even have a gun shop here."
A court-authorized search warrant allowed authorities to search his home last fall. While he was never charged for his alleged discriminatory behavior, he was charged for having an unregistered short-barrel firearm in his home.
"This former law enforcement officer knew that he was breaking the law when he chose to possess a cache of unregistered weapons, silencers and a machine gun, keeping many of them in his duty vehicle," United States Attorney Peter Learysaid.
"Coupled with his violent racially motivated extreme statements, the defendant has lost the privilege permanently of wearing the blue."
Griggers is scheduled to appear in court on July 6. He faces up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.
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