Law officers await verdict in Albany Federal Court

Law officers await verdict in Albany Federal Court
Albany Federal Courthouse (Source: WALB)

Testimony and closing arguments have ended, and the jury has the case against current Decatur County Sheriff's Captain Liz Croley, Deputy Christopher Kines, former deputy Robert Wade Umbach, and former Grady County Deputy Wiley Griffin, IV, in Albany Federal Court.

The four were sued by Ronnie Aaron Parrish for obstructive behavior, accused of writing false reports, or making misleading statements. to cover up what Parrish says was excessive use of force. He also named Decatur County, and Sheriff Wiley Griffin in his case.

 Parrish, a Bainbridge resident, says he was beaten by the officers at the 2012 Bainbridge Bike Fest. 

According to Decatur County incident reports, Captain Liz Croley and Christopher Kines broke up a fight in September of 2012 on Bike Fest grounds. A news release from the Department of Justice said that Parrish got involved in a scuffle, and was allegedly beaten by Wiley Griffin, IV, and left with cuts and bruises.

A few days later, Parrish was charged with obstruction of an officer and attempting to remove a firearm from law enforcement. He was fined $1,000 and sentenced to three years probation.

Parrish's wife, Carla, testified in the federal trial, showing photographs of her husband, and describing his injuries.

In a 2014 interview with WALB, then Decatur County Attorney Brown Moseley, said the deputies did nothing wrong. "They were in uniform acting, they were on duty, and they had arrest powers," said Moseley.

County commissioners decided that the money to pay the deputies' legal fees would come out of the sheriff's office budget.

Also last year, Sheriff Wiley Griffin told WALB that he believes justice will prevail. "The federal indictment only hears one side of the story, and in court we get to tell our side of the story," he said. "Those officers will be exonerated and they will get back to doing what they do best, and that's protecting the citizens of Decatur County."

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