COWETA COUNTY, Ga. - Foul language, racial slurs and a shocking incentive that may have led to a violent beating: A Channel 2 Action News investigation exposes the threatening text messages that forced a police chief off the job.
At first, Grantville, a city of fewer than 4,000 people, looks lost in time. But it's technology that took down the chief of police.
The drama unfolded last month after a source gave Channel 2 Action News a series of text messages Chief Doug Jordan sent to some of his officers back in 2013.
The first set started with, "OK. June Bug saw Henry and his wife at Dollar General, shot him the bird and yelled (expletive) U at him . So 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)."
Diamant asked around town and learned June Bug is Leon Buchannan. He found him and showed him the chief's texts.
"He threatened somebody's life, like they making bets on me or something," Buchannan said.
Buchannan did serve a year in prison on drug charges in 2008, but since getting out, "I changed my whole life, went to school, got my CDL," Buchannan said.
"Are you a drug pusher?” Channel 2 investigative reporter Aaron Diamant asked.
"No, sir," Buchannan said.
Either way, just two days after the chief texted that take-down order, "That's when I ended up calling the police on the police," said April Heard, Buchannan’s cousin.
A frantic 911 call from Heard outside the family's home after now former Grantville Police Officer Demetrius Henry, the officer named in the first text, rolled up fast looking for Buchannan.
"He just jumped out the car, something like, ‘Didn't I tell you don't disrespect,’ and just started hitting and beating him in the car," Heard said.
"Once he hit me the first time in the eye, my cellphone flew over there," Buchannan said.
Buchannan ended up in the hospital. His family filed excessive force complaints against Henry, but an internal investigation cleared him.
Diamant was able to contact Jordan at the same number the texts came from. He agreed to meet Diamant in town, but canceled at the last minute.
Diamant actually tried for weeks to get Jordan's side of the story. When Diamant drove up to Jordon’s house outside Newnan, Diamant saw Jordan and his family outside in the yard but by the time he got out of the truck, the family scrambled into the house.
Diamant eventually showed the texts to a stunned Grantville Mayor Jim Sells.
"He may need an attorney," Sells said.
Diamant also showed him another set of texts from last August after seeing an off-duty officer, Henry, in an unrelated Channel 2 Action News story, another Grantville officer texted "Henry’s on the news."
The chief wrote back, "What's that about?" then added "He probably beat the (expletive) out of some 'n-word.'"
"Does this represent the values of this town of Grantville?" Diamant asked Sells.
"Absolutely not," Sells said.
And Sells' condemnation came quick.
"Using that word goes way beyond that. That cuts right to the core," Sells said.
For Buchannan, the chief's texts leave no doubt in this mind.
"He don't need to be a chief. He don't need to be a cop, period," he said.
And it seems Sells agreed. He suspended Jordan, who resigned two days later.
"This is not going away, no, whether you pursue it or not, this is not going away," Sells said.
Henry resigned from Grantville police shortly after the internal review cleared him of those force complaints.
He and Jordan have still not talked to Diamant.
Coming up Tuesday on Channel 2 Action News at 6 p.m., why the local district attorney called the GBI after we showed him Jordan's text message.