Black leaders are urging Gov. Brian Kemp to suspend the sheriff who allegedly fondled Judge Glenda Hatchett

The Georgia legal community, activists, prominent black figures and attorneys for prominent television judge Glenda Hatchett are calling on Gov. Brian Kemp to suspend the Georgia sheriff accused of sexually assaulting her.

The Cobb County law firm charged Bleckley County Sheriff Kris Coody with sexual abuse after he chest-grabbed Hatchett at a law enforcement meeting in Atlanta last year.

“This is the voice of a community that said enough is enough. That this is long overdue,” attorney Mawuli Davis said during a rally outside the state Capitol.

Former DeKalb County Sheriff Thomas Brown reported in May that he had to pull Coody’s hands from the Hyatt after introducing them to Coody and other sheriffs in the bar at the Renaissance Atlanta Waverly Hotel. Brown said the Bleckley County sheriff appeared drunk as he placed his hands on the judge’s chest to show her he was from “the heart of Georgia.”

The sheriff has not disputed the claims and has expressed regret.

Davis pointed out Wednesday that the incident happened publicly in front of other sheriffs.

“And if it’s not safe, then our daughters, our nieces, our aunts, our great mothers, none of them are safe, but we have to make this space, this world, this state safe for black women, and that’s what.” our intentions are,” Davis said.

The attorney said Kemp should have suspended Coody when he was arrested in February. However, Kemp’s office told WSBTV that he could not take action against the sheriff.

“The current charge is a misdemeanor and the incident occurred at an off-duty location. The allegation has not yet risen to the level required by state law for action to be taken. We will certainly continue to monitor this situation closely and review any new information that comes to our attention,” a representative from the governor’s office said in a text.

But proponents argue the governor suspended other sheriffs pending investigations and he should treat this case the same way and “condone behavior differently.”

They also urge Kemp to publicly condemn the sheriff’s actions. Davis said the Georgia Sheriff’s Association has commented on the incident.

Coody reportedly has a rocky past in law enforcement. He was released from the Georgia State Patrol in 2007 after more than 20 years on the job. He was reportedly involved in an altercation and did not tell his superiors about the investigation. His ex-wife also filed criminal charges against him for allowing their minor child to drive his police patrol on the freeway.

New Georgia NAACP State President Gerald Griggs pointed out that Kemp suspended Clayton County Sheriff Victor Hill last June after he faced federal civil rights charges for allegedly ordering associates at the county jail to use excessive force. Reports show that a three-person panel concluded that Hill was unable to perform his duties while he was indicted.

“What’s good for a white sheriff should be good for a black sheriff,” Griggs said. “Because we’re the birthplace of civil rights, and Governor Kemp, it’s not 1860 and it’s not 1960. It’s 2022. So it’s time for you to suspend this sheriff.”

Black leaders and organizers who gathered Wednesday said they have no intention of backing down until the sheriff is suspended and prosecuted.

Hatchett is the first Black Chief Presiding Judge of a Georgia state court. She is best known for starring on the Emmy-nominated national show Judge Hatchett for eight years, and now she’s headlining The Verdict with Judge Hatchett.

“We are fed up with this madness,” said Rev. Gerald Durley, former dean of Clark Atlanta University. “This is not a political climate. This is a climate for equality and justice. Right now an immoral act is being committed against Judge Glenda Hatchett.” Black leaders are urging Gov. Brian Kemp to suspend the sheriff who allegedly fondled Judge Glenda Hatchett

James Brien

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