Temporary restraining order voluntarily dismissed in David Gibson investigation

SHEILA A. MATHEWS :::

The temporary restraining order (TRO) that had kept sealed the Internal Affairs investigative record involving David Gibson, former captain of the Spalding County Sheriff’s Office Uniform Patrol Division, has been voluntarily dismissed by the petitioner, Ruby King, who serves as Sheriff Wendell Beam’s secretary.

The TRO was granted June 15 by Superior Court Judge Mack Crawford after a petition for declaratory judgment was filed that same date by Johnnie Caldwell on King’s behalf.

The Grip contacted Caldwell June 15, at which time he stated, “I’m not seeking to have it permanently sealed. I’m seeking to have it sealed until the District Attorney’s Office decides if it’s going to be released or prosecuted.” When told the Open Records Act already contains a provision allowing investigative records to be withheld pending prosecutorial decisions, Caldwell stated, “And hopefully I can get it (the investigative record) redacted on behalf of some of the people out there.”

The petition was filed in response to an Open Records request seeking the Internal Affairs record submitted June 11 by Will Sanders, a Spalding County resident, and named both Sanders and Beam as respondents.

On June 19, Caldwell filed a motion voluntarily dismissing Sanders as a respondent to the petition, leaving Beam as the sole respondent.

Asked why he voluntarily dismissed the TRO, Caldwell cited a separate Open Records request seeking the release certain email communications of Beam and several additional SCSO personnel. That request was submitted to Spalding County by The Grip following the issuance of the June 15 court order.

“It was my understanding there’d been a new Open Records request filed with the County Commission and they had released it. That was my information. If it’s already out there, it’s already out there, you know,” he said, later adding, “I understood it had already been released. It’s foolish to keep something not released when it’s already been released. That’s foolishness.”

Spalding County did comply with the Open Records request and the 66-page Internal Affairs final report was made available for review.

Caldwell on June 30 filed the voluntary dismissal in the Spalding County Clerk of Court’s office, and it was signed by Crawford July 7.

The Grip has submitted a new Open Records request for the David Gibson Internal Affairs investigative file in its entirety, but that information has not yet been made available for review.

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