At about the same time the Supreme Court was striking down portions of the Voting Rights Act last summer, telling us that racism is dead in America, Police Chief Doug Jordan of Grantville Georgia was sending racist texts to his officers and placing a bounty on the head of black man who had once been convicted on drug charges.
The story was uncovered after a source gave copies of the texts to investigative reporter Aaron Diamont who went to Grantville, a town of about 4,000 to see what he could learn about the blatantly racist texts. He quickly realized that he was going to find no cooperation from the police department and sought out others for their side of the story.
The text that piqued Diamont’s interest was one sent by Jordan to several of his officers which read, “OK. June Bug saw Henry and his wife at Dollar General, shot him the bird and yelled f— U at him . So gloves off first officer to take him down gets a steak dinner” then, “f— That drug pushing mother f—–.” We going to find that piece of s—.”
Asking around town, Diamont learned that “June Bug” was Leon Buchannan who he showed the texts to asking for his reaction to them.
“He threatened somebody’s life, like they making bets on me or something,” Buchannan said.
When Diamont asked if he was a pusher Buchannan, replied emphatically that he is not. He freely admits that he did spend a year in jail in 2008 on a drug conviction but insisted that he has been clean since he got out. He went to school to obtain a CDL and has turned his life around.
To the Grantville police, none of that mattered. He had once been convicted of a drug charge and he was black — that was all they needed to know. Two days after that text message was sent, Police Officer Demetrius Henry pulled up in front of Buchannan’s home where he was sitting in his car, jumped out of his car shouting at Buchannan about disrespect and beat him so badly that he ended up in the hospital.
Henry was cleared by an internal investigation of any wrong-doing and claims that Buchannan had resisted arrest, although no mention is made of any charges at the time. Henry resigned from the department shortly after being cleared.
Diamont tried for weeks to speak to the chief who went out of his way to avoid him, so the frustrated Diamont went to the Mayor, Jim Sells and showed the texts to him.
“He may need an attorney,” Sells said.
Indeed he may. Jordan resigned as Police Chief the day after Sells suspended him, apparently seeing the handwriting on the wall, but it is not yet over for either Jordan or Henry. The District Attorney, Pete Skandalakis has opened an investigation calling in the Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) and the U.S. Attorney, saying that it appears there may be civil rights violations involved.
Watch Diamont’s report below.