A former Wilkinson County, Ga., sheriff’s deputy was fired in November after the FBI contacted his sheriff and informed him that his deputy is being investigated for possessing illegal guns and potential ties to white supremacist terrorism. On Monday, the former deputy pleaded guilty in a federal court in Macon to one count of possession of an unregistered firearm.
An officer of the law carrying an illegal gun is troubling enough, but what turned up in the investigation manages to be even more disturbing as investigators found that he was in possession of nearly a dozen illegal weapons and that he had bragged via text messages about beating a Black suspect and planning to arrest Black people on trumped-up felony charges to keep them from voting.
Belleville News-Democrat reports that 28-year-old Cody Richard Griggers, a former Marine, is facing a maximum of 10 years in prison and is set to be sentenced in July. But if half of what was said about Griggers by prosecutors and in FBI affidavits is true, he should probably be locked up for much longer than that.
From the News-Democrat:
His name surfaced in August when federal agents searched the cellphone of a San Diego man and discovered group text messages with members of the texting group who referred to themselves as “Shadow Moses” or “Shadmo,” court documents state.
Griggers, in the texts, was said to have claimed he was making and gathering illegal firearms and explosives.
Griggers, who is white, “also expressed viewpoints consistent with racially motivated violent extremism, including the use of racial slurs, slurs against homosexuals and making frequent positive references to the Nazi holocaust,” prosecutors said in a statement on Wednesday announcing Griggers’ plea.
The prosecutors said that on Nov. 19 last year that the FBI searched Griggers’ patrol car and found a machine gun “with an obliterated serial number,” a weapon he was not allowed to have in his patrol car.
“An unregistered short barrel shotgun was found in his home,” the statement went on. “In all, between the defendant’s residence and duty vehicle, officers found 11 illegal firearms.”
So, besides the fact that Griggers—whose name rhymes with, well, you know—is basically a white supremacist Rambo who would scrub marginalized people from the Earth like he scrubs serial numbers from his arsenal, he was also a pro-police brutality cop who advocated disenfranchising Black voters by arresting them for no damn reason at all, according to the FBI.
Wilkinson Sheriff Richard Chatman said he was disturbed by what he read in Griggers’ text messages, but he claimed that at least one racist AF incident the ex-deputy bragged about never actually happened and that nothing in his record indicated that he was basically a Klan member with a badge. (Some people would argue that “a Klan member with a badge” is redundant. I’m not going to go there, but I’m also not going to tell “some people” that they’re wrong.)
More from the News-Democrat:
“I beat the (expletive) out of a (racial slur) Saturday. (Expletive) tried to steal (a gun magazine) from the local gun store. ... Sheriff’s dept. said it looked like he fell,” the affidavit noted, quoting Griggers.
Griggers went on to write that the beating was for him “sweet stress relief.”
“That never happened,” said Chatman, the sheriff, in an interview with The Telegraph Wednesday. “We don’t even have a gun shop here.”
Chatman, who is Black, said he concluded that Griggers’ claim was perhaps Griggers “being braggadocious.”
“I think he may have been working in the jail (at the time). ... We looked at all the cases he may have been involved in and we never had any complaints on him of any kind,” Chatman said. “We looked back and we pulled (records) of anything that he had taken a warrant for, any call that he had gone on, and we found nothing [that raised any red flags].”
It often seems like cops couldn’t find red flags on other cops if they had red flags pinned to their uniforms instead of badges, wrapped their guns, batons and tasers in red flags, drove giant, mobile red flags instead of patrol cars and buried their suspects’ bodies under a mountain of red flags instead of taking them to jail.
Anyway, the FBI affidavit also said that Griggers had texted how he “intended to charge Black people with felonies in order to keep them from voting.”
“It’s a sign of beautiful things to come,” Griggers reportedly wrote. “Also I’m going to charge them with whatever felonies I can to take away their ability to vote.”
Just a friendly reminder that Griggers was a sheriff’s deputy in a county that is nearly 40 percent Black. But systemic racism in policing? Nah, that’s just our imagination.