District Attorney, GBI emails detail possible crimes at SCSO

David Gibson plea

David Gibson, formerly the captain of the Spalding County Sheriff’s Office Uniform Patrol Division, ultimately plead guilty to two counts of violating his oath of office and was sentenced to 10 years, with three to serve in prison. During the GBI investigation that resulted in this plea bargain, Gibson offered to provide information on additional crimes he alleged were occurring at the Spalding County Sheriff’s Office. Photo credit: Sheila Mathews

SHEILA A. MATHEWS :::

During the Georgia Bureau of Investigation case involving David Wayne Gibson, formerly the captain of the Spalding County Sheriff’s Office Uniform Patrol Division, discussions of allegations of other criminal activities were held involving Gibson, his attorney, Larkin Lee, then Griffin Judicial Circuit District Attorney Scott Ballard and GBI Special Agents Jared Coleman and Robert DeVane.

These talks resulted in Lee submitting to Ballard a proffer agreement detailing alleged crimes about which Gibson was willing to provide information in return for special consideration in his own criminal case.

Gibson initially reported he could provide assistance about “possible illegal activity in the Narcotics Division of the Sheriff’s Department, including unlawful seizure of property and misuse of seized property by individual agents; possible evidence tampering and manipulation of evidence by individuals in the Criminal Investigation Division of the Sheriff’s Department; possible accounting and financial irregularities within the Sheriff’s Department; and possible violations in regard to GCIC certifications, procedures and/or misuse.”

Upon receipt of this letter from Lee, Ballard forwarded the information to Coleman, and asked him to review it.

An Open Records request produced the communications that followed.

Coleman responded to Ballard’s request by saying, “I’m good with sitting down and hearing what he has to say for consideration on the charges; however, I don’t see anything specifically earth shattering in the proffer to offer any type of deal at this point. What are your thoughts?”

Ballard replied, “His (Gibson’s) word alone wouldn’t get us far. Has your investigation led you independently to suspect the violations he mentions?”

At that point, Coleman discussed two issues with Ballard.

“Nothing in this investigation has led to any of that. The closest thing that I personally have knowledge of is a rumor that the Narcotics unit had placed a tracker on a vehicle without an order to do so, but that was from a personal contact and happened 4-plus years ago if I recall correctly. The only other criminal activity we’ve found is possible malfeasance in office on part of Sheriff Beam by not doing anything after multiple confirmed reports on Gibson’s activity. Other than that, anything he (Gibson) would have to offer would simply be his word at this point.”

The GBI agent told Ballard he was “fine moving forward without interviewing him (Gibson),” as Coleman, who was the lead investigator in the criminal case against Gibson, said, “I think we have more than enough at this point for a solid prosecution…..”

In response, Ballard said, “Let’s just move forward without interviewing him. I’ll tell his lawyer to let us know if there is more he can offer, and we might reconsider.”

According to Larkin Lee, all discussion pertaining to that proffer were initiated by representatives of the state, not himself on behalf of Gibson.

“The proffer was done at their (the state’s) request. He (Gibson) was approached and asked for any information,” Lee said before describing the response to the proffer. “We were told that was nothing they were interested in, and that was that.”

During the same period of time these communications between Ballard and Coleman were taking place, The GRIP was publishing a series of investigative articles pertaining to a 2012 investigation conducted by agents of the Spalding County Sheriff’s Office Special Operations Unit that involved the alleged use of a GPS tracker without consent.

As a result of that investigative series, then-Sheriff Wendell Beam requested the GBI conduct an investigation to identify The GRIP’s confidential source. The GBI declined Beam’s request.

That series of articles can be read online.

https://the-grip.net/2015/11/25/sheriffs-office-narcotics-unit-investigation-raises-questions/

https://the-grip.net/2015/12/09/sheriffs-office-narcotics-operation-raises-questions-part-ii/

https://the-grip.net/2016/01/06/scso-narcotics-operation-raises-questions-part-iii/

https://the-grip.net/2015/12/04/sheriff-wendell-beam-issues-press-release-in-response-to-the-grip-article/

https://the-grip.net/2015/12/15/gbi-declined-sheriffs-request/

https://the-grip.net/2016/01/06/scso-denies-requesting-gbi-leak-investigation/

Publisher’s note: The next article in this series will delve into the potential criminal activity Coleman cited in his email to District Attorney Scott Ballard, whether an investigation was ever conducted and the response of current Spalding County Sheriff Darrell Dix. Ω

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