An investigation by the FBI revealed that a former Georgia deputy threatened to charge Black people with felonies to keep them from voting and bragged about beating a Black man.
Cody Richard Griggers, who was a deputy in Wilkinson County, Georgia, shared through text messages in an alleged extremist hate group that he beat a Black suspect whom he had arrested back in August 2019, according to ABC News.
In the messages, which were documented in an FBI affidavit, Griggers, 28, had used multiple racist remarks aimed at the man.
“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,” Griggers was quoted saying in an affidavit.
The FBI also found that Giggers shared in the hate group chat titled “Shadow Moses,” that he "intended to charge Black people with felonies in order to keep them from voting," Belleville-News Democrat reported.
Richard Chatman, the Wilkinson sheriff, responded, however, saying that he believed Griggers was simply “being braggadocious” when making the egregious claim.
“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].”
Back in August 2020, authorities were alerted of violent political posts on Facebook and were investigating a California man believed to be responsible. During their probe, the FBI identified Griggers in the man's phone as a member of a hate group. When they contacted the local sheriff's office about their investigation, Griggers was subsequently fired.
According to Belleville-News Democrat, Griggers had even used slurs against homosexuals and made multiple references to the Nazi Holocaust. Upon further investigation, the text messages showed the former Marine bragging about gathering and manufacturing illegal explosives and firearms.
Using knowledge of his involvement with the extremist hate group, the FBI did a raid on Grigger's patrol car in November 2020, during which they discovered he had a machine gun “with an obliterated serial number,” ABC News reported. After a subsequent raid on his home on Nov. 19, authorities found a total 11 guns -- one identified as a barrel shotgun.
“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. Coupled with his violent racially motivated extreme statements, the defendant has lost the privilege permanently of wearing the blue,” acting U.S. Attorney Peter D. Leary said.
Griggers pleaded guilty to one count of possession of an unregistered firearm at a federal court in Macon, Georgia on Monday. He remains in custody and faces up to 10 years in prison with a maximum $250,000 fine, KHQ News reported.