GPD Chief says questions about his actions are “foolishness”


The GRIP has learned that Griffin Police Department Chief Mike Yates did have a response to Publisher Sheila Mathews’ Sept. 11 email that included a list of questions regarding whether his actions in fabricating and disseminating a false document had violated GPD policies or state criminal laws.

Although he did not respond directly or answer any of the questions he mandates be submitted in writing, Yates, who received the email Sept. 11, forwarded it 30 minutes later to City Manager Kenny Smith and Chief of Staff/City Staff Attorney Jessica O’Connor, noting his opinion of the inquiry.

“I am not going to entertain answering this foolishness. Just an FYI,” Yates told Smith and O’Connor.

Smith sat down with The GRIP Tuesday, Oct. 1, but did not provide information pertinent to Yates’ actions.

Asked when he became aware of the fabricated document’s existence, Smith said, “I have no idea.”

In response to the question of whether Yates was acting in the performance of his job when the document was fabricated, Smith said, “I don’t know.”

Smith also did not know if the false document in question had any criminal predicate or relation to any crime.

“I don’t know. I’m sorry I’m not being very helpful. I just haven’t delved into all this. You’re catching me cold on all these questions. I haven’t been intimately involved in all this, so I just don’t know,” Smith said.

The issue with which Smith said he was unfamiliar is Chief Yates’ creation and dissemination of a document falsely identifying Will Sanders, an outspoken critic of the chief of police, as the father of former police officer Matthew Boynton.

The city of Griffin released this document to CNN/HLN and The New Yorker magazine, but it was denied to The GRIP.

Although Smith said he was caught cold by The GRIP’s questions, he had received those questions related to this issue Sept. 11, when they were forwarded by Yates.
Read about the legal questions raised by the document created by GPD Chief Yates here:
Document fabricated by GPD Chief Mike Yates raises legal questions
Mathews also forwarded that original email to Smith on Sep. 23, a week prior to that interview.

While he had known about the fabricated document for weeks, he said there had been no investigation into the matter.

Asked why, Smith said, “I’m not going to take time to…Matthew Boynton’s paternity has nothing to do with me, so I don’t have time to worry about Matthew Boynton, who his mama, daddy, aunt’s, mother’s, brother’s, sister’s child is. I don’t care.”

Mathews responded, “Well, I understand that, but the investigation would not be to determine his paternity, but to determine why the Griffin Police Chief fabricated a document falsely…”

Smith interrupted to say, “I don’t have any information on that,” before interrupting Mathews’ next question to ask, “I really don’t know why we’re spending so much time and effort on all this. Can you answer that question for me…on all this Will Sanders, Boynton – I mean, it’s been going on for years and years.”

Before Mathews could answer, Smith said, “If Will Sanders feels he’s been defamed because of some document, he needs to hire him an attorney and do whatever he needs to do…but I’m spending an inordinate amount of time now discussing Matthew Boynton and Will Sanders and I don’t understand why.”

“Because a document that was fabricated by a police chief was disseminated to CNN and to The New Yorker,” Mathews responded.

“Okay, so what do we need to do about it?” Smith asked.

“Well, that was my question. That is my question,” Mathews said.

Smith then repeated his previous assertion.

“If Will (Sanders) feels like he’s been defamed by that document, then he needs to get him an attorney and do what he’s got to do,” he said.

Mathews responded by saying, “On the civil level, whatever he (Sanders) chooses to do on the civil level, that’s obviously his decision, but as it relates to the email that I sent you last week, there are numerous provisions of the Standard Operating Procedure of the PD, as well as state laws that I believe are…at least raise questions about that document, you know? It’s a document that was created by a government official and it was used in his official capacity as a police chief. It is a false document. It portrays – relates – false information. Would that not constitute a false statement?”

“You’re welcome to go to a Magistrate judge and see if they’ll issue a warrant for that,” Smith said. “I don’t know.”

Asked if he believes anything related to this issue bears a criminal investigation or review, Smith said, “I have not investigated any of that.”

When asked, “Do you believe an investigation is warranted?” Smith replied, “I don’t think so.”

In conclusion, The GRIP asked Smith if he could explain why he does not believe Yates’ actions should be investigated, to which Smith said, “No, ma’am.”

The GRIP wishes to thank The Pike County Times Editor Becky Watts for her assistance in gathering investigative records for this article. Please visit Watts’ work at


  1. […] GPD Chief says questions about his actions are “foolishness” ____________________________________________________________________________________________ Prior to Sept. 10, the most recent press release disseminated by the GPD was emailed to the media Sept. 4, by Public Information Officer Lt. Daniel Jett, after Mathews requested information related to a shooting. […]

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