GBI: Sheriff Wendell Beam did not request criminal investigation of David Gibson

Agents of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation confirm Spalding County Sheriff Wendell Beam did not request an investigation of David Gibson. Beam has now requested a GBI investigation to determine if there is a leakage of information from within his office.

Agents of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation confirm Spalding County Sheriff Wendell Beam did not request an investigation of David Gibson. Beam has now requested a GBI investigation to determine if there is a leakage of information from within his office.

SHEILA A. MATHEWS :::

The Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) has confirmed it is conducting a second investigation involving the Spalding County Sheriff’s Office.
According to Special Agent in Charge Fred Wimberly, of the GBI Region 2 office in Columbus, Sheriff Wendell Beam requested the investigation Aug. 6.
“We have been requested to take a look at information concerning possible leakage of information from within the Sheriff’s Office,” Wimberly said.
When asked what criminal code violations could be involved, Wimberly said, “It all depends on the circumstances and whether or not there were any laws have been broken, so that’s our determination – trying to determine if there were any laws were broken. You’ve got computer trespass laws, you’ve got invasion of privacy laws, things of that nature.”
GBI Public Affairs Director Scott Dutton provided more information.
“The question was, did we have an investigation second to the Gibson case and what was the purpose of the case? What I found out from looking at the case information and from talking to Fred Wimberly, the agent in charge out there, is yes, they did initiate a case and it’s for computer theft,” he said, explaining that computer theft would apply to a person who uses a computer or computer network with knowledge of such use without authority or intent. “Essentially what’s going on is the Sheriff was concerned that someone was accessing – unauthorized access – to the phone system at the Sheriff’s Office, so they requested the GBI conduct that investigation.”
He later expanded on the specifics of his agency’s investigation.
“From my understanding, it’s the phone system, but you know how data and everything else moves across phone lines, etc., IT departments those type things – it’s a wide kind of a range, umbrella, as it relates to computer theft on phone systems,” Dutton said. “They initiated that one, of course, after the other case that they were working and of course those take a little bit longer because you’ve gotta get your IT specialists and digital forensic people to kind of look at different things, but from talking to Fred (Wimberly), he talks like they’re in the ending stages of it. How long – a time frame – I don’t know what that means, but the next step is when they finish it is just get it back to the DA’s Office…so, they’ll determine if a crime was committed and if so, who’s responsible and what it carries.”
Dutton reiterated Wimberly’s prior statement about the two separate investigations the GBI is currently working involving the Spalding County Sheriff’s Office, and said he believes this investigation should be completed soon.
“That case (regarding possible leakage of information) was worked by different case agents and they’re doing that investigation and then they should be finishing up based on what they told me,” he said. “The DA’s Office was involved, or on board, with that actual request, so once they get all their findings together, etcetera, the DA’s Office and Sheriff’s Office will have that information.”
The GBI is also continuing its investigation of David Gibson, formerly the captain of the SCSO Uniform Patrol Division. That investigation began in late July is being conducted at the request of Griffin Judicial Circuit District Attorney Scott Ballard.
As a result of that ongoing criminal investigation, Gibson has been charged with aggravated assault, two counts of aggravated sexual battery, interfering with witnesses, violating his oath of office, two counts of simple battery, sexual battery, indecent exposure and stalking.
Wimberly said the investigation requested by Beam on Aug. 6 is separate from its initial investigation of Gibson.
Beam previously told The Grip his office had requested the GBI conduct an investigation of Gibson, but stated the GBI declined to investigate because no criminal allegations were involved.
Beam specified that Capt. Tony Ranieri, who heads up the SCSO Criminal Investigation Division, placed a phone call to the GBI Region 2 office and spoke with a supervisor to officially request an investigation of Gibson.
Beam stated the call requesting the GBI investigation of Gibson was placed early in the process.
“It would have been soon after we started gathering information on this – probably the first part of May,” Beam said.
Because one of the allegations against Gibson was violation of his oath of office, a felony in Georgia, The Grip contacted Wimberly for clarification regarding Beam’s statement alleging the GBI had declined to investigate.
Wimberly explained there are two supervisors in the Region 2 office – himself and Assistant Special Agent in Charge Chris DeMarco – who could have fielded Beam’s request, but said he had not received that call.
“No, I have not spoken to Tony Ranieri. Chris (DeMarco) may have, but I’ll double check with him to see if that did occur,” Wimberly said.
Wimberly later spoke with DeMarco and reported to The Grip that he also had not receive a call from Ranieri.
Later questioned about these conflicting statements, Beam acknowledged his office had not requested a GBI criminal investigation of Gibson.
“Well, when I talked with Capt. Ranieri about that a little bit further on, he stated he had spoken with one of the agents because this question has come up before in other investigations, and he was just recontacting an agent. I don’t know who he talked with, but he said that is the standard procedure that unless we are pursuing criminal charges that they would not get involved,” Beam said. “I talked with the agent in charge later that you spoke with (Wimberly) and he stated that he had not received a request but that was their standard procedure. So, I was told he had spoken with one of the agents – I don’t know who – just to confirm that it was still their procedure.”
“So, there was not an actual request for the GBI to investigate?” Beam was asked.
“No, no, there was not a formal request because we were just checking for clarification to make sure we were still correct with what we understood their procedure was, and we were informed yes, that is correct. Unless we are pursuing criminal charges, they do not get involved in it,” Beam responded.
When asked why his office did not seek a criminal investigation of Gibson when one of the allegations was a felony, Beam stated, “Yes, it is, but at that time, we were doing an administrative investigation, we were not doing a criminal investigation. We were gathering information at that time on an administrative or management standpoint, not from the criminal aspect. It was never a formal request made to them (the GBI).”

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