A former Georgia deputy bragged in messages with members of an extremist group that he had brutalized a Black man in custody and that he intended to charge Black people with felonies to keep them from voting, federal authorities revealed in court last week.
Text messages sent by 28-year-old Cody Richard Griggers in 2019 when he was still working as a Wilkinson County deputy, show that he told members of the “Shadow Moses” group, “I’m going to charge them with whatever felonies I can to take away their ability to vote,” according to an FBI affidavit.
Grigger was fired from the department in November after the FBI contacted the sheriff about an investigation regarding illegal guns and a man who had made violent political statements on social media.
The former Marine pled guilty in federal court on April 26 to one count of possession of an unregistered firearm and faces up to 10 years in prison. He was detained at his pretrial hearing and remains in custody.
“This former law enforcement officer knew that he was breaking the law when he chose to possess a cache of unregistered weapons, silencers and a machinegun, keeping many of them in his duty vehicle. Coupled with his violent racially motivated extreme statements, the defendant has lost the privilege permanently of wearing the blue,” said acting U.S. Attorney Peter D. Leary.
According to court documents, Griggers’ name first surfaced on investigators’ radar in August when agents searched the phone of San Diego, California, man Grey Zamudio and discovered the Shadow Moses group text. In the messages, Griggers said he was stockpiling illegal guns and explosives.
“I want to get [law enforcement]-only stuff like flashbangs and entry charges and say I used them in training when I pocketed them,” Griggers said.
When investigators searched his home on Nov. 19 they found that Griggers had a machine gun with a destroyed serial number in his patrol car, a weapons he shouldn’t have had in the vehicle.
Between the home and the patrol car, authorities found 11 illegal firearms.
Griggers’ comments in the group text were particularly concerning to Wilkinson County Sheriff Richard Chatman.
In August 2019, Griggers texted that he had beaten a Black man in custody.
“Oh, got wrapped up in my AR and forgot to tell y’all that I beat the sh-t out of a n-gger Saturday. (Expletive) tried to steal (a gun magazine) from the local gun store. … Sheriff’s dept. said it looked like he fell,” the affidavit noted, quoting Griggers.
He described the beating as “sweet stress relief.”
But Chatman, speaking to the Macon Telegraph newspaper, said last week that the alleged crime committed by the Black man couldn’t have happened because there isn’t a gun shop in the area.
In fact, Chatman, who is Black, said he believes the whole story about the beating was made up and attributed it to Grigger being “braggadocious.”
“I think he may have been working in the jail (at the time). … We looked at all the cases he may have been involved in and we never had any complaints on him of any kind,” Chatman said. “We looked back and we pulled (records) of anything that he had taken a warrant for, any call that he had gone on, and we found nothing [that raised any red flags].”
According to Chatman, Griggers told him upon being fired that he was “sorry all this happened, that that wasn’t really him.”
Griggs is scheduled to be sentenced on July 6.