GBI requested to investigate police chief’s texts
by Clay Neely
The Georgia Bureau of Investigation has been called to investigate text messages made by ex-Grantville police chief Doug Jordan that may have led to a violent beating by one of his officers.
Last month, Jordan resigned as police chief following a suspension over racially tinged text messages that were presented to Mayor Jim Sells. While the text messages contained profanity and racial slurs, it’s not the foul language that now has Coweta Judicial Circuit District Attorney Pete Skandalakis involved.
Skandalakis was shown a series of text messages that Jordan sent after one of his officers had an encounter with a suspected drug dealer in 2013.
According to Channel 2, the texts read: "...Gloves off first officer to take him down gets a steak dinner." Then, "(Expletive) that drug pushing mother (expletive)." And finally, "We going to find that piece of (expletive)."
"This appears to be some type of bounty,” said Coweta Judicial Circuit District Attorney Pete Skandalakis. "That's not how you do business in our profession.”
Leon Buchannan was the target of those text messages.
According to Grantville Councilman Barham Lundy, Buchanan was repeatedly stopped by Grantville officers. Lundy said Buchanan was targeted as a drug dealer, even though drugs were never found. “He hasn’t been convicted of any crime. He works every day,” Lundy said. Regardless, Buchannan was allegedly assaulted by a Grantville police officer while in his car outside his family's home just two days after Jordan sent the texts.
Buchannan ended up in the hospital while the officer claimed that the suspect fought back when he tried to arrest him.
An internal investigation initially cleared the officer of any wrongdoing, but after seeing Jordan’s texts, Skandalakis plans to call the GBI to look into the situation.
"You have a problem, a perception of law enforcement by the African-American community that sometimes law enforcement is not there to help them,” Skandalakis said. “That's why it's important for us to get to the bottom of this."
The DA’s concern grew after viewing another round of texts sent later in 2013, texts in which Jordan used a racial slur.
Two weeks ago, Skandalakis made contact with U.S. Attorney’s office and advised them of the situation. “It’s in their hands now,” he said.
However, Jordan continues to affirm that he is not a racist and that a number of African-American police officers in Grantville were ultimately run off by members of the Grantville City Council.
According to Jordan, Grantville had two full-time African-American officers who wound up resigning after writing a traffic ticket to an associate of one of the councilmen.
“The real story is that this suspected drug dealer is a relative of one of our councilmen,” said Jordan. “He’s been protected in Grantville for the past eight years and if the Grantville police get too close, they get fired or forced to resign.”
Councilman Lundy is adamant that neither he nor any other member of the city council is related to Buchannan.
“They all end up resigning,” said Jordan. “It’s been the history of Grantville to fire or run off any police who want to enforce the laws, period.”