The cop pled guilty, but what does this tell us about the politicization of our justice system
On Monday, a former Sherriff’s deputy in Wilkinson County, Georgia, Cody Richard Griggers, pled guilty in federal court. His charge? Possession of an unregistered firearm. It seems he was caught on a technicality, having the illegal gun presumably among a stash of legal guns. Judging by his personality, which you’ll soon learn more about, he also fits a certain type — he’s a right-wing extremist.
All the way back in 2006, the FBI had posted a bulletin titled White Supremacist Infiltration of Law enforcement, on October 17th, where it details the looming fear by intelligence officials of white nationalist movements permeating into law enforcement careers in order to carry out clandestine agendas. It’s no surprise that so many people have become so skeptical about the police. Most of us have lived through the terror of an overzealous officer at one point in our lives.
How many of us have run into these officers, possibly without even knowing it? It’s been fifteen years since the document was published and it seems we’re no further ahead than we were back then, and perhaps, we’re even farther behind.
The FBI caught this particular officer in an investigation last year, which at least gives me some hope. It means that there is someone behind the scenes policing the police, at least a little bit.
But the FBI report on the case was incredibly disturbing, nonetheless.
The deputy stated that he would arrest black people with fake felonies to keep them from voting. While felons who’ve done their time and completed their sentences can vote in Georgia, they can’t do so for a number of years, especially if they’ve been falsely imprisoned for crimes they didn’t commit.
Then come the years of restitution and heartbreak. Imagine how many families may have been destroyed by this one rogue officer alone and how many more would have been shattered had he been permitted to continue his mission under the banner of white nationalism, a double agent for both white nationalist organizations and the police.
The deputy was also found to have been making racist slurs and derogatory comments about homosexuals frequently. He’s a regular alt-right poster boy.
And he was a holocaust sympathizer, making positive references to the nightmarish atrocity that killed millions of people in the second World War. He made positive statements about the Holocaust and believed it was a good thing.
And that’s where the glaring problem lies. None of these things are illegal in and of themselves. And the local police department proved impotent in weeding out this officer until a cover FBI investigation found him.
What does that say about the police’s ability to detect crime if they can’t do so among their own ranks?
Fortunately for us and the FBI, they managed to book him for possession of an unregistered shotgun that they found in his home upon investigation.
This comes right on the heels of the news that the three accused murderers in the Ahmaud Arbery case, another case in Georgia where a black man was murdered while taking a jog through a neighborhood, will be federally charged with hate crimes.
Initially, Georgia police and prosecutors declined to prosecute the three men who hunted Mr. Arbery down while he was taking a morning jog and executing him with a shotgun after lying in wait in their pickup truck.
It wasn’t until immense pressure from social media campaigns began that Mr. Arbery’s case was picked up by the feds who stepped in and had the killers arrested. The Department of Justice case reads:
“In addition to the hate-crime charges … all three defendants attempted to unlawfully seize and confine Arbery by chasing after him in their trucks in an attempt to restrain him, restrict his free movement, corral and detain him against his will, and prevent his escape.”
And that’s when he was murdered.
Right now, it looks really bad for the police departments across America, as case after case piles on alluding to the fact of unequal treatment of African Americans and other minority groups.
Two departments in Georgia in just the past year is not something we should take lightly. Fortunately, there’s a silver lining in the gray, gloomy clouds.
That memo from 2006? It also clues us in on some possible solutions. Listing the Ku Klux Klan as an example, the document tells us that the Constitution of the United States protects the right to free association, but it also says that certain public sector jobs are exempt.
Police departments are one group of employers that are exempted from constitutional protections such as free speech and free association because of the nature of the job.
Public workers are entrusted with a certain level of power that can’t just be granted to anybody without keeping tabs on them. And cases like this evince all the reasons why.
This also comes right in the wake of the announcement that Attorney General Merrick Garland is going full-on beast mode and monitoring and investigating local police departments. This is the part that makes me the happiest.
For the first time, the feds are just now beginning to take local police corruption seriously. And we can all thank the constant social media battles that we’ve all engaged in for that. We’ve put pressure on them for so long and just when it was beginning to feel hopeless, we’re finally starting to see some progress.