In Georgia, Decatur County, three law enforcement officials were received their conviction in a federal case for false declarations and withholding information from attorneys and FBI investigators.
The three officials convicted are the Sheriff of Decatur County, Captain Elizabeth Croley and deputies Christopher Kines, as well as Robert Wade Umbach.
While police violence and brutality became national news from North Charleston to McKinney, this isolated case in Bainbridge, Georgia eluded the media attention. Nonetheless, a story ensued as the verdict came closer.
This week’s verdict comes after three years from the first happenings that involved Aaron Parrish in a direct brawl with the son of the Decatur County Sheriff, Wiley Griffin IV, at the time deputy in the Sheriff’s department.
Following a party gone wrong, the Sheriff’s department was called in. It was during a biker festival that was taking place in Bainbridge. At the party, among other people detained for a while, Aaron Parish was also taken into custody. It was happening in September 2012.
After being taken into custody, Parrish was hit with a flashlight in the face. According to the record, Parrish presented cuts, bruises, swelling and bleeding. However, the complaint on record is only registered in 2014.
It seems that immediately after the event, Parrish went back to the Sheriff’s office to file a complaint against the deputies who were present that night, including the two who had held him pinned down in a neckchoke while the third was hitting him with the flashlight.
At the Sheriff’s office it turned out that Wiley Griffin IV, the son of the Sheriff was the one who had hit Parrish with the flashlight, while deputies Kines and Umbach were holding him down.
On hearing the man’s story, the Sheriff took no action. Instead, Aaron Parrish saw himself brought back on made-up charges for a felony. The case ended at the time with fines, a three year sentence for probation.
No records of the initial complaint or of the effects of police brutality existed. It looked like it had never happened or like bits were removed from Aaron Parrish’s file.
The case escalated from a county brawl to a full-fledged FBI investigation. Civil rights were invoked at the federal level and three years later the federal jury convicted the real perpetrators in the case: the deputies of the Sheriff and the Sheriff himself.
The Sheriff was found guilty for having filed a false reports that led to Aaron Parrish’s arrest. Following, she refrained from offering the appropriate information to Parrish’s lawyer, as well as to the local district attorney.
Griffin, Umbach and Kines also purposefully lied to federal investigators on account of not seeing Wiley Griffin IV at the scene of the party or otherwise in September 2012.
At the federal level, things were thus settled. The records showed however that a civil suit is pending on the county’s list.
The lawsuit was filed by Aaron Parrish against the Decatur County Sheriff’s office.
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