(Photo by Kelsey Richardson of the Andrews Journal)
ELLIJAY, Ga. – Despite a news story in the Andrews Journal today, one sentence has caused confusion anong Gilmer’s Citizens and officials.
FYN has confirmed with Gilmer County Public Safety Director Tony Pritchett that he is indeed taking a job in Andrews, North Carolina, as Police Chief for the department.
The Andrews Journal states, “Pritchett, who has family throughout Cherokee County, is from Gilmer County, Ga. He is transitioning from his role as the Gilmer County Public Safety director to Andrews police chief. Pritchett additionally has experience as chief of the Gilmer County Volunteer Fire Department.”
FYN reported the article to Gilmer county. However, Pritchett has confirmed with FYN that he is transitioning away from the East Ellijay Police Department where Pritchett says he has worked shifts for eight years. Moving his police work to Andrews, Pritchett says he has taken the position for flexibility in his schedule. While he usually had night shifts in East Ellijay, Andrews will allow a less rigid schedule meaning less affect on his main position of Public Safety Director in Gilmer, which he is not leaving.
Coming out of executive session, Pritchett was voted to be hired by the town’s Board of Aldermen. FYN has also checked with Gilmer County Chairman Charlie Paris who stated he confirmed with the towns mayor that the new position will allow Pritchett to expand and support their police force as Chief.
The Andrews Journal did report that Pritchett spoke about bringing a “good respectable and professional police force” to the city and later noted that when the new police force is hired, Pritchett would be focusing on the town’s drug crisis.
When FYN caught up with Pritchett about possibly transitioning away from Gilmer, he responded, “I love the county too much, and I ain’t going nowhere.”
The Andrews Police Department has diminished in the last year after the casino opened, Pritchett told FYN he would be adding his training and expertise to rebuild the department. While the new position will help to grow their department, Pritchett declined to say if there was a set period that he would be at their saying, “As long as it is something that doesn’t take away from my responsibilities as Public Safety Director, I don’t mind staying, helping out, and being a part of the department for a while. As long as it doesn’t place too much weight on me from here because Gilmer County, the citizens of Gilmer County, being Public Safety Director and Fire Chief is my primary duty.”
Summarizing the entirity of the new position, Pritchett summed up his move as “swapping his extra job.”
EAST ELLIJAY, Ga. – Amid charges of theft by taking and violation of oath of office, East Ellijay Police Chief Larry Callihan has confirmed Michael McClure has resigned from the East Ellijay Police.
Recalling the arrest record of McClure, he was originally placed on administrative leave by the department, but recent developments show the former officer resigning his post. According to the arrest record, McClure is accused of taking a money order from a woman’s purse, after arresting her, and later cashing it.
ELLIJAY, Ga – Prior to the Ellijay City Council’s November Meeting, they heard a proposal from Russel Brown, local paramedic, for a community welfare program similar to programs in other counties like Floyd County.
According to Brown, patients statistically do better recovering at home. This program would encourage and supervise home health. Different from home healthcare programs, Brown said much of the welfare program is focused on prevention of readmission to hospitals and emergency rooms. They would focus on aspects like vital signs and communication for paperwork. If the program moves forward, it would start out within the Ellijay City Limits.
Funding and grants are available, Brown said, and much of the expense would come from strips for glucometers to measure blood glucose. While he hopes one day it could grow into a community paramedic program, he wished to start at community welfare. Those providing the service would be limited in care, and Brown stated that EMS would still be called for necessary situations.
Specific details for the proposal will come possibly as early as the December City Council meeting as the council requested Brown to return with an official written proposal to detail more things like cost and liability among others.
Another healthcare entity presented a variance request to change the sign for Gilmer Nursing Home on 1362 South Main St. While the variance request was submitted to exceed the three-foot sign regulation of the city, it would in fact be lower than the current sign. Standing at 21 feet now, the request states the new sign will only reach 12 feet in height. A representative from Signs of Interest, Andy Lawson, told FYN the sign change was partially to clean up the facilities appearance and simplify the extras to a lower “nicer looking sign.”
Officially approved by the council, the sign will include a small message board to be utilized by the nursing home. Lawson provided FYN with a drawing of what the sign is expected to look like. Though the sign change is indicative of a name change as part of a remodeling project, Lawson told the council that SunLink Health Systems still owns the nursing home.
Following the same road further south, Highway 382’s changes came to Ellijay with a formal notification by the Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) that they will abandon the section of Highway 382 that currently extends from the intersection of 382 and Old Highway 5 to the connection at Highway 515. As seen in the picture, GDOT will be constructing a new connector straight across to Highway 515 with a roundabout at the intersection.
The notification comes with the city of Ellijay needing to accept the abandoned portion of 382 into its responsibility for paving and maintenance. However, a motion was made at the meeting to table the item. Citizens can expect the council to revisit the issue in December.
Along with their discussion of roads, an official petition has reached the council to add speed bumps to Gilmer Street near the Senior Center. The petition garnered 20 names and roused discussion from the council about returning the street to a one-way street as well as discussion on purchasing speed bumps for the street. Continued complaints about the speed of vehicles on the street led to suggestions to officially request the change via petition. Discussion took a turn as Ellijay Police Chief Edward Lacey informed the council that the street was, at one time, a one-way street.
Gilmer Street is a more narrow street and discussion arose as, if the city returned it to one way, they were unsure of which way to direct the traffic. The council tabled the item and requested an official recommendation from Lacey, on how to return it to a one-way street, to discuss along with the speed bumps option. Again, citizens should look for the council to revisit the item in December.
CITY OF ATLANTA’S FORMER CHIEF PROCUREMENT OFFICER
ADAM SMITH PLEADS GUILTY TO TAKING BRIBES
ATLANTA – Adam L. Smith, the former Chief Procurement Officer for the City of Atlanta, has pleaded guilty to conspiring to accept more than $30,000 in bribe payments from a vendor who obtained millions of dollars in city contracts.
“Great trust was placed in Smith as Chief Procurement Officer for the City of Atlanta, and he abused his position to serve his own financial interests,” said U.S. Attorney John A. Horn. “Public corruption offenses, like Smith’s, can erode the confidence that the people have in government.”
“The guilty plea in federal court of former City of Atlanta Procurement Officer Adams will ensure that he is held accountable for his greed based criminal conduct as he now awaits sentencing. It is hoped that this case serves as notice to others that similar such conduct among public officials will not be condoned and that there are severe consequences should that notice go unheeded,” said David J. LeValley, Special Agent in Charge, FBI Atlanta Field Office.
“Public service is a public trust, requiring employees to obey laws and ethical principles above private gain. Smith abused his public trust to enrich himself at a cost to the taxpayers,” said James E. Dorsey, Acting Special Agent in Charge, IRS Criminal Investigation. “We will continue to work with the FBI and U.S. Attorney’s Office in making these public corruption investigations a priority.”
According to U.S. Attorney Horn, the charges and other information presented in court: From 2003 to February 21, 2017, Smith served as the Chief Procurement Officer for the City of Atlanta, Georgia. As the Chief Procurement Officer, Smith oversaw the City of Atlanta’s purchasing activities and its expenditure of billions of dollars in public money for projects.
The information refers to a vendor who was an executive with a construction firm in Atlanta, Georgia, but does not identify them by name. During Smith’s tenure as the Chief Procurement Officer, Atlanta awarded contracts worth millions of dollars to Vendor’s firm and joint venture projects of which Vendor was a partner.
From at least 2015 to January 2017, Smith met privately with Vendor on multiple occasions, frequently at local restaurants. During these meetings, Smith and Vendor discussed Atlanta procurement projects, bids, and solicitations. Often at the time of these meetings, Vendor was actively seeking contracts, projects, and work with Atlanta.
After most of these meetings, Vendor and Smith met in the restaurant’s bathroom, where Vendor paid Smith approximately $1,000 in cash. In return for the bribe payments, Vendor expected Smith to use his position and power as Atlanta’s Chief Procurement Officer to assist Vendor with contracting/procurement with Atlanta and to furnish Vendor with future benefits and favors when needed.
Given his position, Smith was required to sign annually a financial disclosure statement certifying that he had not received more than $5,000 in annual income from any corporation, partnership, proprietorship, or other business entity other than Atlanta. Additionally, under Atlanta’s Procurement Code, Smith also had to “make a written determination as to the existence” of any “personal or organizational conflicts of interest exist” between vendors and Atlanta before awarding a vendor a solicited contract. Similarly, Atlanta’s Procurement Code mandated that Smith “certify to the city council” that the winning vendors had disclosed to Atlanta any “organizational and personal relationships” and that the “award of the contract [was] appropriate.”
Furthermore, in exchange for those cash payments:
- Smith met with Vendor on a regular basis;
- Smith provided Vendor with information and counsel regarding Atlanta’s procurement processes (among other information);
- When Vendor’s firm or joint venture became the successful bidder on an Atlanta contract or Request for Proposal, Smith approved and submitted the award of such procurement projects or bids to Atlanta’s mayor and city council for final authorization;
- Smith never disclosed his ongoing financial relationship with Vendor and/or Vendor’s firm on his Financial Disclosure Statements to Atlanta; and
- Smith never advised Atlanta’s City Council that the Vendor’s firm or joint venture had failed to disclose its organizational and personal relationships with him.
In total, from at least 2015 to January 2017, Vendor paid Smith more than $30,000 in cash.
Adam L. Smith, 53, Atlanta, Georgia, pleaded guilty to conspiratorial bribery. Sentencing is scheduled for January 16, 2018, before U.S. District Judge Steve C. Jones.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation and Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation are investigating this case.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys Jeffrey W. Davis, Kurt R. Erskine, and Jill E. Steinberg are prosecuting the case.
For further information please contact the U.S. Attorney’s Public Affairs Office atUSAGAN.PressEmails@usdoj.gov or (404) 581-6016. The Internet address for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Georgia is http://www.justice.gov/usao-ndga.
ELLIJAY, GA – Just after noon, a driver in a black Jeep struck another vehicle on the right side of the Wal-Mart parking lot, nearest the Comfort Inn Suites.
According to East Ellijay Police Chief Larry Callahan, after striking the vehicle, the driver put his vehicle in reverse and struck another vehicle and a pedestrian. The pedestrian was killed in the incident.
The driver has since been transferred to Kennestone Medical Center by the Gilmer EMS. While authorities believe the pedestrian to be a local resident, no details are being released to the public.
However, Chief Callahan told FYN that the Georgia State Patrol is conducting the investigation. Stay with FYN as we await more details on the situation.
ELLIJAY, GA – A lawsuit has been filed against the City of Ellijay claiming excessive force by a City Police Officer.
According to the filing by Terry Cantrell, the police attempted to stop his vehicle on June 16, 2015 as he was driving in Ellijay, Ga. As the filing states, he left his vehicle, proceeding on foot. With the officers in pursuit, Cantrell’s lawsuit claims he suddenly threw his hands up to surrender and was tackled to the ground, at which point his head struck the pavement.
Quoting the lawsuit filed, Cantrell claims, “As a direct result of Defendants’ unlawful conduct, Plaintiff has suffered actual physical and emotional injuries, and other damages and losses…”
Cantrell filed his lawsuit against the City of Ellijay, Ellijay Police Chief Edward Lacey, III, and Officer Trevor McClure. Cantrell claims that as he fled police and was tackled, he was unconscious on the ground and was later put on life-flight to Atlanta Medical Center where he claims he was in a coma for 12 days and under medical supervision for 22 days.
Complaints against the City and Officers include “Excessive Force in violation of the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments, Deliberately Indifferent Policies, Practices, Customs, Training, and Supervision in violation of the Fourth, Fourteenth, and First Amendments, Failure to Render Aid, Breach of Fiduciary Duties, Battery, and Negligence, among others.
Cantrell also claims this is not the first time the Officer has used excessive force in his career.
The lawsuit holds claims for both Punitive Damages and Attorney’s Fees for Cantrell. In a notice to the City of Ellijay, Cantrell’s Lawyer George Weaver, of the Law Office of George W. Weaver, claims the medical expenses amounted over $350,000 and continue to accrue daily. The notice did offer a settlement to the City of Ellijay in the amount of $1,100,000.
After combing through the Lawsuit filed by Terry Cantrell, FYN takes a closer look at the Police Report and Dash Cam Footage of the involved incident.
The Incident Report filed with the Police states that Officer Brady Dover was patrolling down River Street when he noticed a dark in color pickup truck fail to maintain its lane by crossing over the fog line and partially into a parking lot. As he followed the vehicle, he initiated a traffic stop, activating his blue lights.
According to the report, after the driver failed to stop, he followed him onto North Avenue in Downtown Ellijay, and then onto McCutchen Street in front of the Ellijay Elementary School and Ellijay Primary School. At this point the driver dramatically increased his speed to a point where Officer Dover had to increase to 55 mph to avoid losing the suspect.
One can see in the dash-cam footage, as the suspect came off the bridge on McCutchen Street, the suspect nearly ran head-on into another vehicle exiting Harrison Park before traveling through the field and crashing into a small creek on the east side of the park.
An Accident Report also indicates he struck two wooden posts that blocked vehicles from entering the field.
The incident report states the suspect exited his vehicle on foot, at which point Officer Dover pursued the suspect, yelling at him to stop.
Pursuing the suspect through the wooded area, a field, and back onto McCutchen Street, Officer Dover once pulled his firearm after noticing “a large knife on his side.” Yelling at him again to stop, the suspect continued fleeing. Continuing his pursuit, the report states Officer Dover heard a second officer, Sergeant Brian Troglin, “give a loud verbal command.”
Sgt. Troglin’s report states that he noticed “a knife approximately 6″ in length on his right hip in a case,” emerged from his vehicle, and yelled, “hold up” at the suspect.
The report also states Sgt. Troglin saw Officer Trevor McClure tackle the suspect with a shoulder tackle.
Officer McClure’s report stated:
AS I QUICKLY CLOSED DISTANCE BETWEEN MYSELF AND MR. CANTRELL, I HEARD SGT. TROGLIN YELL, “WATCH OUT FOR THAT KNIFE,” AND OBSERVED THE KNIFE ON MR. CANTRELL’S RIGHT HIP. I SLOWED DOWN, SLIGHTLY, AND REACHED FOR MY SERVICE WEAPON. AT THIS TIME I WAS APPROXIMATELY FIVE TO SIX FEET FROM MR. CANTRELL’S LOCATION. AS HE TURNED TO FACE ME, I REALIZED THAT I WAS TOO CLOSE TO ATTEMPT TO STOP AND DRAW MY WEAPON. IN ORDER TO PREVENT MR. CANTRELL FROM CONTINUING TO FLEE OR ATTEMPTING TO DRAW HIS KNIFE, I DELIVERED A SHOULDER TACKLE, WRAPPING MY ARMS AROUND MR. CANTRELL’S BACK, AND TOOK HIM TO THE GROUND. I IMMEDIATELY TURNED MR. CANTRELL INTO THE PRONE AND BEGAN HANDCUFFING HIM. AS I TURNED HIM, I NOTICED THAT HIS BODY WAS LIMP AND THAT HE WAS BLEEDING FROM THE BACK OF HIS HEAD. AFTER HANDCUFFING MR. CANTRELL, I SECURED THE KNIFE FROM IT’S SHEATH ON HIS BELT AND HANDED IT TO SGT. TROGLIN.
A second dash-cam footage shows the officer tackling the suspect to the ground, who was then identified as Terry Cantrell.
Sgt. Troglin’s Report states he noticed Cantrell’s head bleeding, called for an ambulance, and instructed Officer McClure to “get the male off his back, put him on his side, and secure his neck.”
According to photographs of the scene, Cantrell had beer cans in the vehicle. He also registered a Blood Alcohol Content of 0.139 according to GBI Crime Lab results by Gas Chromatography.
FYN also noted seven citations from the incident including Striking a fixed object, Reckless driving, Driving while License was Suspended/Revoked, DUI, Failure to stop at a Stop/Yield sign, Failure to Maintain Lane, and Fleeing/Attempting to elude Police.