COWETA COUNTY, Ga - Did a police chief's threatening text messages lead to a violent beating by one of his officers? That's the question that has a prosecutor calling in the Georgia Bureau of Investigation to help answer following a Channel 2 Action News investigation.
On Monday, Channel 2 investigative reporter Aaron Diamant reported that Doug Jordan resigned as Grantville’s chief of police after Mayor Jim Sells suspended him when Diamant exposed a series of text messages Jordan sent, which were full of profanity and racial slurs.
However, while the city may be done with Jordan, the district attorney is just getting started.
"He may need an attorney," Sells told Diamant
Sells' main fear for his now former chief of police may soon come true.
"That's not how you do business in our profession," said Coweta Judicial Circuit District Attorney Pete Skandalakis.
Skandalakis came to that quick conclusion once Diamant showed him a series of text messages, which Jordan sent out after one of his officers had a run-in with a suspected drug dealer in 2013.
The texts read, "...Gloves off first officer to take him down gets a steak dinner." Then, "(EXPLETIVE) that drug pushing mother (EXPLETIVE)." And finally, "We going to find that piece of (EXPLETIVE)."
"This appears to be some type of bounty," Skandalakis said.
Leon Buchannan was the target of those text messages. Diamant showed him the text messages, too.
"He threatened somebody's life like they making bets on me or something," Buchannan said.
Buchannan served a year in prison on drug charges in 2008, but since getting out, he says he has stayed out of the drug game.
"The past is the past, you know,” Buchannan said. “Everybody makes mistakes."
Still, Buchannan described the beating he took from a Grantville police officer while in his car outside his family's home just two days after Jordan sent those texts.
"He reached in, opened my door, jumped in, he hit me,” said Buchannan. “Once he hit me the first time, my cellphone flew over there."
Buchannan ended up in the hospital. An internal investigation cleared the officer of any wrongdoing, but after seeing Jordan’s texts, Skandalakis plans to call in the GBI to look into all this.
"You have a problem, a perception of law enforcement by the African-American community that sometimes law enforcement is not there to help them,” Skandalakis said. “That's why it's important for us to get to the bottom of this."
The DA’s concern grew after Diamant showed him another round of texts sent later in 2013, in which Jordan used a racial slur.
"I think that you have to look at this as a potential civil rights violation," Skandalakis said.
That concern has Skandalakis looping in the U.S. Attorney.
Diamant tried for weeks to get Jordan's side to all this at his office, at his home, and by phone without any luck. That's when he took the text to Sells.
"We're going to look into it, and this needs to be investigated and handled properly," Sells said.
Sells recently suspended Jordan, who resigned the next day. But Skandalakis told Diamant he has no plans to just let this go.
"Makes my job a lot easier that there's a written trail to follow," Skandalakis said.
Skandalakis told Diamant, despite being cleared, the GBI will also dig into the actions of the officer who put Buchannan in the hospital. The officer claims Buchannan fought back when he tried to arrest him.