GPD Chief Mike Yates denies The GRIP equal access

Yates mug RTP

Griffin Police Department Chief Mike Yates – Photo courtesy of the city of Griffin

SHEILA A. MATHEWS :::

The GRIP’s efforts to provide news coverage of matters involving the Griffin Police Department are being hindered by Chief Mike Yate’s refusal to be interviewed or to allow The GRIP to work with anyone else in the agency, including the recognized public information officer.

Most recently, Yates refused to meet with The GRIP regarding a significant issue – missing evidence that nearly resulted in the dismissal of a felony case against Matthew Boynton, a former Griffin P.D. officer – insisting instead that questions be submitted only by email.

When told emails are not the method in which interviews are conducted, Yates replied, “That’s how I do them.”

When asked if that is his standard policy with all media outlets, Yates said, “That’s enough. If you have questions, email it to me and I’ll answer it, but I’m not gonna sit here and debate with you. When I have issues with being misquoted, that’s how I do it…No, my policy differs with the media outlets depending on the manner by which previous things have been done.”

Asked to specify his concerns with The GRIP’s previous work, Yates said, “I’ll be happy to explain that to you in writing.”

Thus began the following email exchange –

The GRIP:
Chief Yates,
In reference to our telephone conversation this afternoon, can you please clarify your media policy in general and as it specifically applies to me? In addition, can you please elaborate on your objections to my prior work that has resulted in your refusal to be interviewed?
Thank you,
Sheila Mathews

Yates:
Ms. Mathews,
In regards to our brief phone conversation today the answers to your questions are as follows:
I do not do phone interviews or otherwise with you or any media outlet regarding the operations or actions of other agencies or entities (GBI, DA’s Office etc…) especially when I don’t know the answer or do not have firsthand knowledge.
I don’t do the above types of interviews where I feel that the interviewer has previously not reported my comments accurately or in the proper/intended context, or has reported inaccurate or false information.
When I consider the above and do not feel comfortable with such I offer to answer any questions you (or any media outlet) might have in writing, by email so as to insure absolute accuracy and avoid mistakes, intentional or not, regarding my statements or the context in which they were made.
I trust this addresses your concerns.
Regards,
M. Yates

The GRIP:
Chief Yates,
It’s truly unfortunate that you feel I’ve previously either reported your comments inaccurately, out of context or have reported inaccurate or false information. I strive for accuracy in all my work, but errors can occur. If you would be so kind as to provide specific examples of your concerns and copies of your recordings indicating such errors were indeed made, I’ll be quite happy to review my work and records, and will most certainly make any necessary public corrections.
Thank you for offering once again, but as I’ve explained on numerous previous occasions, email interviews simply aren’t an acceptable option. They are far from an industry standard, and while I appreciate your wish to prepare for the subject matter on which we may speak, email interviews are the equivalent of offering an interviewee tacit quote approval prior to publication. That is far from acceptable, and is actually contrary to a free and independent press. However, to facilitate an amicable working relationship, I’m completely willing to meet any reasonable demand you feel is necessary to protect your interests that will allow me to do my job ethically and professionally.
As I stated earlier this afternoon and have stated on numerous previous occasions, I am willing to have you video and/or record any and all interactions and interviews. If it would make you more comfortable to also have present a witness of your choosing, I have no problem with that, either. Those options should certainly put to rest any concerns that I may commit the acts you’ve alleged.
Thank you for your time and consideration.
Sheila Mathews

Yates:
I have explained and offered to answer your questions and concerns but I have nothing to add. If you have a question you may ask, in writing, and I will respectfully answer.
Thank You

Publisher’s note: At this time, The GRIP has no immediate source of contact with the Griffin Police Department.
Additional reports pertaining to this ongoing situation will be published in the May 24 print edition of The GRIP.

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Comments

  1. Ferrett says:

    Are you really surprised?
    I am a supporter of the boys in Blue. Things like this sure hurt those who are truly out there to protect and serve. Disgusting attempted cover-up that goes all the way to the courts…

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