A Georgia sheriff has found himself on the opposite side of the law after allegedly fondling prominent TV judge Glenda Hatchett.
According to reports, Hatchett was attending a sheriff’s conference in Atlanta in January when Bleckley County Sheriff Kris Coody allegedly grabbed her left breast.
The Cobb County Solicitor’s Office has charged Coody with misdemeanor sexual battery.
Former DeKalb County Sheriff Thomas Brown said he had to peel Coody’s hands off the judge. He was reportedly shocked and angry at the other sheriff’s actions.
“When I saw his hand go down on her left breast and I reached over, grabbed his hand, took it off of her and basically said, ‘What are you doing?’ and, ‘Get your hands off of her,'” Brown told reporters.
Hatchett made history in 1990 as the first Black Chief Presiding Judge of a state court in Georgia overseeing Fulton County’s Juvenile Court. For eight years, she starred in the Emmy-nominated national show “Judge Hatchett,” and she currently headlines “The Verdict with Judge Hatchett.”
Brown said he invited Hatchett as his guest to the Georgia Sheriffs’ Association winter training conference on Jan. 18. He was introducing her to Coody, the association president and another sheriff, when the incident happened.
13WMAZ reports that Coody’s arrest warrant shows the assault took place at the Renaissance Atlanta Waverly Hotel bar after hours. Brown said Hatchett asked Coody where he was from, and Coody replied, “The heart of Georgia.”
That’s when Brown said Coody placed his hands on Hatchett’s breasts three times “to emphasize ‘the heart of Georgia.” Brown said he was so furious that he wanted to do more.
“She was there as my guest, so I was obviously upset,” Brown said. “Obviously mad. He was obviously intoxicated.”
Brown said then he escorted the Coody away, and Hatchett told him that she was shocked.
“She’s thinking, ‘He’s a sheriff. What do I do?'” Brown recalled.
The media does not usually identify sexual assault victims, but Channel 2 Action News reported Hatchett wanted her story to be told to empower other women.
Coody turned himself in to the Cobb County Sheriff’s office on Feb. 4 and was released later on bond. Coody said in a statement from his office that he takes the charges against him “very seriously” and will “comply with all legal obligations placed upon him.”
He also said he hopes to apologize to Hatchett once given a chance.
“The allegations connected with these charges do not have any connection to nor do they reflect on the exemplary work performed every day by the men and women of the Bleckley County Sheriff’s Office,” the sheriff’s office statement says. “These are allegations against Kris Coody personally, and he sincerely hopes they will be treated as such.”
The alleged sexual assault is not the only time Coody has been in hot water after multiple decades in law enforcement, reports show.
According to reports, Coody was fired from his position of more than 20 years with the Georgia State Patrol in 2007. That year, he was reportedly involved in an altercation.
Coody’s friend reportedly punched his 12-year-old son in the face. According to reports, Coody left the scene with his son and refused to cooperate with authorities. In addition, he did not tell his supervisors about the investigation.
Coody’s ex-wife also filed a criminal complaint against him for letting their underage child drive his police cruiser on the highway, which he reportedly owned up to doing.
Two years later, the Peace Officer Standards and Training Council recommended 24 months of probation and anger management for Coody for improper conduct. He has been sheriff of Bleckley County since 2017, and he served as deputy sheriff for three years before then.
“He is the chief law enforcement officer of his county. The head of law enforcement agency sets the tone for the culture of our agency,” Brown said. “Law enforcement officers do not put up with law enforcement officers that do the wrong thing.”
As of Wednesday, Coody’s photo is still the headlining image on Bleckley County Sheriff’s office website. Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp has the authority to remove or suspend the sheriff.
However, Georgia Sheriffs’ Association Executive Director Terry Norris said it isn’t likely that Coody would be removed for a misdemeanor charge.
Some residents have expressed outrage over the incident.
“So he really has some [cojones]. He got to go,” Sadie Mims, who lives in Bleckley County, said February when news of the incident broke.