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.”

 

The Continuation of the Devil Got Appointed in Georgia: New Details in the Caroline Smalls Case

Before I move on to the next saga which will be Cory Sasser’s IA record, I want to restate that this entire shit show only happens because of corruption.  For now, it bears understanding a bit more the backstory to the Caroline Small Shooting.  To those of us without that sort of Machiavellian thinking, which must be factory installed, it is stupefying to see all the behind the scenes machinations. That is why I want to go back to the appointment of Jackie Johnson.

The District Attorney, prior to the shooting, Stephen Kelley, was appointed to a Circuit Court judgeship and had named his predecessor for the remainder of his term, (roughly less than 6 months), as David Perry.  Perry disclosed publicly, he wasn’t running for the position in November of that year. He was always strictly a temporary prosecutor.  Unbeknownst to him at the time, he became more temporary than even he thought.

When he originally watched the dashcam video of the Smalls shooting with Chief Doering,  (included in the prior post) Perry reportedly turned green and instantly decided this was a criminal event and he would be seeking indictments against the officers involved in that shooting. After hearing him say this in the press, Jackie Johnson, who announced she was running in the November election for that position, went to the then Glynn County Police Chief Matt Doering.  Doering who vocally sided with the officers put himself on the opposite side of justice and this issue with Perry.  Doering simultaneously was dealing with the GBI (Georgia Bureau of Investigation). They were called in to review the actions of the Glynn County Police Dept. This resulted into a parallel investigation. There were continuous clashes between the policing agencies and resulted in finger pointing from both sides. Glynn County Police Officer, Tommy Tindale, head of Internal Affairs outright told GBI agents that they were only called in “for public perception”, implying the GBI was supposed to feign to investigate, while allowing the police department to make the real determination. This sort of statement is brazen and very reminiscent of Chicago in the 1920’s.

Further, flaunting the perversion of justice, Doering, in a gesture that should be insignificant in the overall scheme of things, wrote a letter to then Governor Sonny Perdue recommending Jackie Johnson be appointed immediately, prior to the November election. In a more paradoxical deviation of all reasoning, Perdue acquiesced and removed Perry, replacing him with Jackie. She, then, unsurprisingly, summarily fired Perry for his handling of this case as well as ceasing the proceedings, while lambasting Perry for the convening of a grand jury against Sasser and Simpson.  She cited increased friction with the Glynn County Police Department that could not be tolerated. However, no one else was cognizant of any friction between the DA’s office and the Glynn County Police except perhaps Matt Doering. Point of fact, the friction was between the GBI and the Glynn Police and the DA’s office that Jackie’s appointment further exacerbated.

After Perry’s firing, the ADA’s in the office with Jackie were targeted, as described in the prior post. Keith Higgins maintained the physical file of this case in his office until his termination. He is adamant Jackie never once came down to get that file to review while he was still employed, even when she was preparing the purely theatrical grand jury later seated with the officers having the upper hand. Her appointment by Perdue is confounding, especially considering, Perry was sufficiently navigating the waters of a powder keg case that Sasser and Simpson lit with their 8 shots into the windshield of a single mother.

My questions, so far, in this mockery of justice are:

  1. What individual motives are there for all the actors to obfuscate justice? Is it a common incentive or do they individually have motivation?  Or is it, truly, that these people are so inept that they cannot investigate a crime?
  2. Why did Doering’s recommendation carry so much weight to prompt the governor to replace Perry, right then? Was there more than just Doering’s recommendation that paved the way for Jackie to jump in?
  3. Why is Sasser, specifically, important to protect?

The Caroline Small case is more than a tragedy; it is a state sanctioned murder. No sense has ever been made of this single solitary event, let alone the events that were to come. Arthur Conan Doyle said it best, “Once you eliminate the impossible, whatever remains, no matter how improbable, must be the truth.” To have the outcome in cases like Caroline Smalls, or Patrick Gonzalez Jr., where there is no real quest for the truth,  after all other explanations are ruled out, all that is left is corruption.

 

The Devil Got Appointed in Georgia: A Series on the Senseless Consequences of Politics in Southern Georgia

Chapter 1

So it came to my attention via an article forwarded to me, that John Powell, a man who ran against Morgan was indicted in Glynn County, Georgia, where he is the Police Chief. You may recall, Morgan had him arrested on a misdemeanor campaign finance violation, (the only person in Florida ever arrested for this violation) during his campaign against Morgan. Naturally, it was a farce and the charges were dismissed. Because of his connection to Escambia County and as an acquaintance of mine, I was naturally intrigued and felt compelled to look into the story behind the indictment. It may appear this chapter isn’t connected but I promise you it is.

It seems the beginning of this Georgia injustice began in June 2010. Caroline Smalls, a mother with alleged mental health issues was in a parking lot when a caller called the police because they believed the woman was openly using narcotics. Here is the dashcam footage:

Of the two cops that were involved were Robert “Cory” Sasser and Todd Simpson, Cory Sasser is the name to remember. By the way, this woman remained in this car, alive, for a bit before anyone called EMS.  She died a week later. Enter Jackie Johnson. Roughly 6 weeks after this incident, Sonny Perdue, then governor of Georgia, appointed Jackie Johnson to the office of Brunswick District Attorney. Jackie promptly fired a prosecutor, David Perry, who was vocal on prosecuting these officers.  Another prosecutor, Jonathan Miller, resigned from the District Attorney’s office to run against Jackie, specifically because of this case.

And even another senior prosecutor dismissed from her office, Keith Higgins, says an animated video re-enactment presented to the grand jury was inaccurate and misleading, showing Smalls had room to run over the officers, which clearly is contradicted by the video. Jackie let the officers  and their attorneys speak in the grand jury proceeding without being under indictment. This is unprecedented. She also allowed them to have all the evidence prior to their appearance before the grand jury, in fact, for 2 months before it was convened, again, unprecedented.  Jackie refused to let people most familiar with the case testify and fired people in her office that questioned her, including a victim advocate. To be expected, the grand jurors came back with no “true bill” against the officers. Jackie claimed that her actions were only to preserve alliances with the Glynn Police Department, although there was a loud outcry of injustice from fellow officers.

By covering for these officers, Jackie walked, with intertwined arms into their legacy and notoriety. As the succession of posts come to pass, the intermingling of Sasser and Jackie will unfold…to the very end.

This is the first in a series of articles about the preposterous political absurdities in Southern Georgia.