Jackie Johnson: The Albatross of Georgia

Chapter 6 of “The Devil Got Appointed in Georgia”

We all know those people who relentlessly end up in situations laden with drama. These people genuinely believe other people bring the turmoil to them. They fail to see they are the common denominator in all these encounters.

That is the story of District Attorney Jackie Johnson. She has been involved in numerous cases that were handled questionably. She recently insisted, in a radio interview, that she remained “intentionally ignorant to the facts of this (Ahmaud Arbery) case.”  She continued on to say (regarding the reporting of her misconduct by various news outlets),  “I think it’s retaliation for me being the whistleblower on their police department,” she said.

Despite Jackie’s protests and renunciations, documentation tells a different tale. The AJC delineated this quite nicely, in their article After Police Chief Indicted, Brunswick DA Recuses Herself from Case.

“Johnson’s office has been caught up in controversy since a video of Arbery’s shooting became public last month, including calls from the public that she be removed. In the Arbery case, Carr asked state and federal investigators to review Johnson’s conduct and the man she helped bring into the case, Waycross District Attorney George Barnhill. Johnson notified Carr she had a conflict after Barnhill had already been actively involved in the case and had made an initial determination that no crime was committed. Carr has been critical of their actions, which violated state guidelines for recusals.

For being over five counties, Camden, Glynn, Wayne, Appling and Jeff Davis, Jackie seems to be involved in a great number of “conflict cases” for her 10 years in the position.  Twenty seven. That doesn’t include the Arbery Case.

Here is a list of all the cases, she’s recused herself from in the last 10 years.

JackieJohnson_ORR_AG_OfcRecusals2

I may be a bit ignorant to legalese but the fact that there is an” Appointee” column certainly appears that Jackie was the appointer. In a press release by Attorney General of Georgia, Chris Carr in relation to the Ahmaud Arbery case, Carr states:

On April 7, 2020, the Office of the Attorney General received a request from the Office of the District Attorney for the Waycross Judicial Circuit to appoint another prosecutor for this case. In that request, the Waycross Circuit District Attorney again did not inform the Office of the Attorney General of his prior involvement in the case before his appointment and specifically described to the Office of the Attorney General the actions that he took “upon taking the case.” In the request of April 7, 2020, the Waycross Circuit District Attorney indicated that he and the Brunswick Circuit District Attorney learned as of “about 3-4 weeks ago,” that his son who is employed as a prosecutor in the Office of the Brunswick Circuit District Attorney had handled a prior prosecution of Mr. Arbery and that one of the defendants in this case had also served as an investigator on the same prosecution. The request of April 7, 2020 did not provide any reason for the delay in contacting the Office of the Attorney General to request appointment of a new prosecutor since the discovery of those facts. Nor did the request of April 7, 2020, reveal that, on April 2, 2020, the Waycross Circuit District Attorney had provided the Glynn County Police Department with a written opinion that no arrests should be made in the case. In that letter, the Waycross District Attorney also confirmed “an initial opinion the day after the shooting” which would have been February 24, 2020. At that time, he had not requested, nor was he appointed by the Office of the Attorney General to this case.

On April 13, 2020, the Office of the Attorney General appointed the District Attorney for the Atlantic Judicial Circuit to this case. On May 5, 2020, the Atlantic Circuit District Attorney requested that the Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) conduct an investigation into the death of Ahmaud Arbery. The GBI commenced its investigation on May 6, 2020 and made two arrests on May 7, 2020.

Carr expressly states no one had the authority to “turn over” the case to the Waycross District Attorney other than him. Yet, Jackie did. In the list of recusals above, Jackie seems to have done just that time and time again. So the problem, that appears to me, is this woman has deemed herself above the Attorney General of Georgia & above the laws of state of Georgia. Has she not usurped her authority repeatedly and customarily appointed whomever she wants, whenever she wanted?

Nevertheless, Carr says this is not procedure. This makes those of us watching amused. That’s Jackie’s home run swing. Assign another district attorney and to ride roughshod over the cases she is “recused”. If, not via the direct pressure on the assistant district attorney, then via her staff under them.

A very good example of this is the civil case filed by Debra Gann, the mother of Katie Settles Sasser. Jackie helped author the complaint according to recent email published. In fact, she aligned the civil case to dovetail the witch-hunt she has undertaken on the Glynn County police chief, John Powell. Additionally the case filed against Powell and others, is clearly political retaliation for not covering up Jackie’s culpability in the events that resulted in 3 deaths. All this can be seen in the lack of finger pointing Gann’s 66563813930434564707950990721024attorneys toward Liberty Stewart, who played a role in the outcome of this entire massacre. That lawsuit doesn’t account for the “but for” principle in Jackie bailing out Sasser over the years beginning with the Caroline Smalls shooting. But for, Jackie’s manipulation of the grand jury, firing of prosecutors willing to push the case forward and failure to let people testify who were relevant and should have testified, it is more than arguable that Sasser, Kettles & Hall would be still alive today. But for, Jackie’s machinations, we would not be seeing the ripple effect on this Georgia community. Irrevocably, she has ridden this town into the cesspool of what we are seeing now.  Albatross, indeed.

Machiavelli said, “A prince will never lack for legitimate excuses to explain away his breaches of faith. Modern history will furnish innumerable examples of this behavior, showing how the man succeeded best who knew best how to play the fox. But it is a necessary part of this nature that you must conceal it carefully; you must be a great liar and hypocrite. Men are so simple of mind, and so much dominated by their immediate needs, that a deceitful man will always find plenty who are ready to be deceived.”

 

GUEST POST: BEHOLD THE BEARD

An anonymous guest writer from within the Escambia County Sheriff’s office asked me to post this in response to the civil unrest over police brutality. I am compiling a post to accompany this post for later this week.

Behold the Beard

 Do we have a loose cannon at the Escambia County Sheriff’s Office as well?

On December 1, 2014, Deputy John Beard and another officer were involved in an incident in which Deputy Beard tased a man five times. The man died a few weeks later and a lawsuit was filed. This is a news article of the incident:

http://www.northescambia.com/2014/12/man-dies-two-weeks-after-being-tased-by-escambia-deputies

BEARD

On February 18, 2018, Deputy John Beard hit an arrestee who was already handcuffed. This incident was not caught on video; however, Dep. Beard was cleared of using excessive force because he claimed the arrestee attempted to head-butt him (ECSO18OFF003324).

On July 14, 2019, during the Blue Angel Airshow, Dep. Beard was attempting to arrest a subject on Pensacola Beach. The video of this incident went viral and depicts Dep. Beard on a man’s back.  The man was in the water and appeared to be resisting, or not complying with, Dep. Beard. Dep. Beard punched the male and eventually took the man into custody. Several officers observed on the video stood around and did not assist Dep. Beard. Text messages between administrative employees at the ECSO indicated that the man was in the hospital, unconscious, two days later. The arrestee was said to have been extremely intoxicated at the time of the incident. Deputy Beard may have also injured his hand during the incident as well because he was seen in a news video with a cast on his arm not long after the Blue Angel Airshow. According to a PNJ news article, the ECSO stated that they would be reviewing the Blue Angel incident. The results of this review have not been released publicly to my knowledge.

https://www.wkrg.com/northwest-florida/ecso-comments-on-video-showing-deputy-tackling-suspect-on-pensacola-beach/

On 09/15/2019, Deputy Beard was again involved in an arrest in which he hit a man who was already in handcuffs. Again, Deputy Beard claimed the man attempted to head-butt him, but according to the other officer on scene this did not happen. The other officer on scene, Dep. Ward, noted in his supplemental report that he felt that Dep. Beard’s use of force was excessive. The incident was investigated and Dep. Beard was EXONERATED!! What happened to the whistleblower in this case? The other officer on scene? Just as expected, and in true David Morgan style, Dep. Ward was suspended for a week without pay. The ECSO’s new Use of Force Expert is a training Sergeant. That Sergeant claims that many things COULD HAVE happened and Dep. Ward was punished based on what COULD HAVE happened because he did not participate in the incident to the liking of David Morgan. Dep. Ward was never allowed to give his account of the incident and was punished based on, once again, what MIGHT HAVE or COULD HAVE happened. And Deputy Beard? Well, he received no punishment for what actually DID HAPPEN. Why?? Is it because they did not want the public or the attorney for the first case to become aware of Dep. Beard’s actions since the lawsuit was filed? Too late.

And if that’s not enough get this…the Sergeant in training. The new Use of Force Expert, utilized by ECSO’s Internal Affairs Unit as an expert when they deem it necessary, is none other than the Sergeant who left a high-powered rifle and other miscellaneous ECSO equipment/ammo/etc. unsecured in his county-issued vehicle and had the items STOLEN!!! Was this a policy violation? Yes! Did he receive punishment for this incident when the guns and other items ended up on the street in the hands of criminals and some of the equipment was never recovered? NO! He was placed on Administrative Leave with Pay until the incident blew over and then transferred to train the new recruits! Do you think this Sergeant owes David Morgan for overlooking his “little” indiscretion/policy violation enough to write up an Internal Affairs case to David Morgan’s liking? One would tend to believe so.

One would also tend to believe that there may be other incidents involving Dep. Beard that have been overlooked, unreported or under-reported. Public Records requests sent to the ECSO to obtain a copy of the video from the 2019 incident have been ignored and unfilled. Why? David Morgan believes he is above the LAW!