Spalding County S.O. narcotics agent has resigned following GBI investigation

Josh Pitts


SHEILA A. MATHEWS :::

Josh Pitts, who served as a lieutenant in the Spalding County Sheriff’s Office Special Operations Unit, has resigned following an investigation conducted by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI).

Sheriff Darrell Dix confirmed that Pitt’s resignation preempted what would have been strong disciplinary action against the former narcotics agent.

The GRIP had learned that Dix intended to demote Pitts from the rank of lieutenant to that of entry level deputy. When asked if that information regarding the disciplinary action Dix had intended to take was accurate, the Sheriff stated, “Yes, among other things.”

Dix later added, “If he had stayed, there would have been disciplinary action taken against him that was pretty severe.”

The GBI investigative report was released to Dix Friday, Aug. 7, and he was in the process of reviewing the case file when Pitts resigned effective immediately.

Dix requested the GBI investigation after receiving information alleging wrongdoing following May 20 arrest of Anthony Smith, who the SCSO alleges is a gang member.

Smith himself did not file an immediate complaint. Instead, the initial report was made by his mother.

According to Dix, she called within hours of her son’s arrest and said he had been physically assaulted on the side of the road while in custody and en route to the Spalding County Jail.

“I came unglued. I think that that is an understatement. I don’t know if I’ve ever been madder than that in my whole life and I’ve been pretty mad,” Dix said.

After confirming the patrol unit transporting Smith to the jail had stopped, Dix immediately requested the GBI investigate the allegation.

“The reason that I didn’t immediately launch an internal  investigation is because the incident may have been criminal in nature, so when I learned about the allegation, I contacted the GBI. Within two hours of me learning about the incident, there was a GBI agent sitting in front of me discussing it,” Dix said. “When there’s a criminal investigation going, you don’t start an internal investigation. You let the criminal investigation run its course and then you determine if policies were violated and that sort of nature,” he explained. “Especially when you contact the GBI. They want to speak to witnesses and so forth before anyone speaks to any other investigators.”

Dix said he opted for a GBI investigation to avoid the appearance of impropriety.

“I didn’t want anything said that it was us not doing what were supposed to do. That’s why we contacted them immediately. It wasn’t an issue of letting it sit and stew for days. This (incident) was not good,” Dix said.

Ultimately, it was determined that Josh Pitts will not be prosecuted.

“I, along with several attorneys in my office, have reviewed the case file numbered 02-0226-14-20 involving a complaint made by Anthony Smith. Thank you for your thorough investigation into the matter. Upon review, there is not probable cause to support any criminal charge. This would conclude my office’s involvement,” said Griffin Judicial Circuit District Attorney Marie Broder wrote in a letter to GBI Agent Adam Thompson.

“The letter from the DA’s office was that there was not probable cause for any criminal charges, but there were policies that were violated. I do know that. That was my determination. I was actually in the middle of reading the investigation so I could make the determination of what I was going to do when he resigned,” Dix said. “I was in the middle of that and Josh turned in his resignation, so it was not a resignation while under investigation because I had not begun an internal. I had not even finished reading the GBI report yet.”

Because the GBI investigation had concluded and Dix had not yet initiated an internal investigation, Pitts’ resignation was considered voluntary and will thus not trigger a subsequent investigation by the Georgia Peace Officers Safety and Training Council, the governing body that issues and oversees law enforcement officer certification statewide.

Despite the determination probable cause did not exist for criminal prosecution, Dix said policy violations were clear.

“I do know that he (Pitts) called the officer that was driving the car (Deputy Conner Dix) and told the officer to stop. The officer that was driving the car stopped and never got out of their car. There was a verbal altercation that happened between Josh and Anthony Smith. There was physical contact between Smith and Josh,” Sheriff Dix said. “Josh said that it was non-aggressive, that he touched him on the shoulder because the guy was upset. Smith said that Josh pushed him into the partition, the black plastic partition.”

Asked if forensic tests were conducted to determine if Smith’s head made physical contact with the vehicle’s partition, Dix said the vehicle had been swabbed, but any results would not determine what happened.

“There was one account where when Josh reached up and put his hand on his (Smith’s) shoulder, he snatched his head away and smacked it into the screen. Josh said he was trying to deescalate the situation. It’s one of those things that there’s no denial his head went into the screen, but there’s no way of knowing if he jerked away and hit his head into the screen or was pushed into the screen. I don’t think there’s any doubt that he his head hit it,” Dix said. “I think we know what happened up to a certain point. It’s after that there is a split and again, that’s why I contacted the GBI immediately and didn’t interfere. Other than giving statements, no one in my agency had anything to do with it. I didn’t want anyone to be able to say my agency influenced the investigation. It was right down the line exactly.”

Dix explained what led up to Smith’s arrest and the incident that launched the GBI investigation.

“This guy (Anthony Smith) a couple of days before this made a Facebook post. He’s a known gang member. He’s a member of the Blixy gang. They’re extremely violent. They have a propensity to shoot at people. A couple of days before this happened, he had posted a couple of photos of himself with guns and had called the Sheriff’s Office out and had called Josh (Pitts) out and had used some racial terms to call Josh out. We found him (Smith) in a store in The Flats and took him into custody and took a gun that looked like one from his post on social media. During his arrest, it was a regular arrest. There was no use of force. Nothing. Josh was not at the scene of the arrest. He was actually eating lunch and heard the arrest on the radio,” Dix said. “He (Pitts) called the transporting officer and told him to stop near the UGA-Griffin Campus on Experiment Street and he pulled up behind the vehicle in his car, got out, walked up to the transporting officer’s car, opened the door and that’s when the incident occurred. It was on Experiment Street. He didn’t ask him to pull off behind a building or anything. Josh and Smith both say that Josh opened up the door and there was a verbal altercation. Josh told Smith to keep his name out of his ‘effing mouth.’ They argued with each other. At that point, that’s when the physical contact was made with putting his hand on his shoulder. Josh said he did it to deescalate, like he was saying, ‘Come on, man.’ Smith said he grabbed him by the shoulder.”

Dix described the incident as a highly unusual occurrence.

“I’ve seriously never in the whole time I’ve been in law enforcement heard of this happening before. Someone getting a word in on someone. I’ve never seen it happen before and I’ve never heard of it,” he said. “That’s the issue that was at the forefront of my mind is that he shouldn’t have called the officer and told him to stop the car. He shouldn’t have approached the car. He shouldn’t have opened the door. The whole incident shouldn’t have happened, period. I think it was just he wanted to see him sitting in the back of the car and do the don’t challenge me thing. Don’t call me out. Keep my name out of your mouth. You’re going to jail. I think it was just an extremely poor decision and an extremely poor action that is a prime example of the confidence that we are trying to build not just here but across the country, how it puts that in jeopardy over an emotional decision that I believe everybody agrees should not have happened at all.”

In his statement to the GBI, Conner Dix confirmed Pitts called and told him to stop his vehicle and that he saw the superior officer open the back door of his patrol car. He stated he heard the ensuing verbal altercation and saw Pitts put his hand on Smith but said he did not see Pitts slam his head into the partition.

Relative to this incident, Conner Dix received a three-day unpaid suspension for turning off his body worn camera.

“He (Conner Dix) said they did it all the time; it wasn’t just in this particular incident. He said he looked down and saw that it was on, so he turned it off, but that doesn’t happen anymore. The policy is clear on that. You don’t turn it off,” Dix said, explaining that SCSO policy has been revised to state the use of body worn cameras may not be discontinued until prisoners have been transferred to jail personnel.

Josh Pitts has been hired by the Butts County Sheriff’s Office.

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Comments

  1. Tonnie Royals says:

    Thank you Sherry Forrester. I couldn’t have said what you said in your comment any better. The truth has been told.

  2. Artimus Pyledriver says:

    Maybe Spaulding can hire LilAnt and his band of illiterate henchman to keep the blacks in line…

  3. He posted someone I know on front page as the ghost face gang leader…David …the man has anxiety and an inhaler. He’s ruined so many peoples reputations to make himself look like a super cop or something idk

  4. Anonymous says:

    So many questions. First of all, Mr. Smith called Josh by first & last name. Who hand picks their future arresting officer?? Second of all, who hasnt made a very HUMAN mistake & acted on emotion?? Thirdly, why are we ignoring the biggest problem in this whole incident & that is that Connor Dix turned his body cam off?? Badge or no badge, Josh made a mistake & I personally take his word for his account of what happened. Why you ask? Because Josh has been serving & sacrificing for his hometown for the last 17 years & has an outstanding track record. One of honesty, integrity, dedication & passion! Should he have been reprimanded? Of course!! However, I dont side with the Sheriff on the severity. I feel his sons actions are WAY worse. Consider for a second Josh is being truthful… then Dix made a grave mistake by letting such an experienced & committed officer walk away. Now consider Josh is not being honest…we have a victim with no justice & a white officer walking around abusing his authority in another town. We may never know exactly what transpired on Experiment Street that day, but we do know that there is a deputy employed in Spalding County who is ok turning his body cam off in an already sketchy situation when it could potentially save lives, reputations, jobs etc.

  5. Betsy Callaway says:

    It’s not lies, law enforcement is so corrupt, that’s the real problem we face. I believe every bit did happen. law enforcement needs to be put in thier place . They do as they please to whom they please. Its ridiculous. I mean read the article, he was immediately hired with butts county after doing something very wrong. That’s just like saying good job for ur behavior. No he shouldve been put on a never hire list .

    • Elcee Crowley says:

      I double down to you, Betsy Callaway. Spalding County Sherrif’s office is hiring. Stop running your mouth and take some action.
      Go show us all how it’s done! I think you are all talk behind a keyboard. You’d soil your snowflake self if you had to deal with one-fourth of what officers have to experience on a weekly basis.

      I hope you and your family meet Anthony Smith and his Blixy brothers in a dark alley one night. Then you might feel differently when they threaten you and yours.

  6. Facebook is great for IFF.

  7. B williams says:

    Are we not going to address the major drug problem in Spalding county. Everybody is worried about one cop. What about the thousands of meth heads that run around the county

  8. Steve elliott says:

    A bunch of lies are being told here.He should have lost is certification.And the Dix officer too.He turned off his camera because he was party to the assault.

  9. Sherry Forrester says:

    How can Butts county hire such a threat! How dare this Josh Pitts get away with taking his authority and abusing it in this manner this is why people are in such an uproar about black lives matter. The guy was in custody going to jail and yet this hot headed asshole took it upon himself to intervene. Butts co. Is pretty screwed up to hire a officer knowing that this happened. Just makes you wonder how many other incidents this man narrowly escaped and kept his job in doing so. This man needs to be punished for allowing his emotions to interfere with a job he pledge to do. I personally feel hes a low life racist with mommy or daddy issues maybe his mom with a black man or dad with a black honey and pitts cant handle it. Someone get this man out of a place where hes going to abuse his authority and maybe let him flip burgers for a living.

    • Well, Sherry Forrester, let’s get started here. Since you seem to be quite adept at running your mouth, why don’t you go get yourself a job as a Spalding county deputy? They seem to be hiring. Go work for a sheriff who talks out of both sides of his mouth while you try to clean up pieces of crap off the street quicker than they can bail out and be back. Let’s see how you handle it when a drug-dealing criminal threatens you and your family on social media.

      I doubt you could pass the background check , since you seem to have an affinity for gang-banger turds like this POS. Maybe you’re one of those sorry skanks who lays around with them for their drugs and stolen money.

      Kinda’ funny how you’re all about defending a rat vermin like Anthony Smith, but you are so quick to call Deputy Pitts a low-life racist. I’ve known Josh Pitts his whole life and you’re not fit to lick the bottom of his shoe. You are nothing but slime mold for saying any such thing.

      Spalding county is less safe because Deputy Pitts is no longer there. Sherriff Dix was not honest with Sheila Mathews and a number of people involved in this situation, and he knows it. Frankly, I hope Pitts files a lawsuit. Among other things, he protected his son and threw Deputy Pitts under the bus as the scapegoat. Vengeance belongs to the Lord, so Sherriff Dix will have his reckoning. As for you, if you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem and Spalding county has a problem. Spalding county has a BIG problem. It’s very clear which side of the equation you fall on.

      • Anonymous for good reason says:

        To Sheriff Dix, This is not the first or the worst thing that Pitts has ever done. Along with the short female investigator at the SCSO, they take one person’s account of crimes and then make the evidence fit that narrative. I personally was put in jail and ended up spending over $6000. On a lawyer and still lost my vehicle to two crooks. Even after I showed them my records where I bought it, they told me that I faked the paperwork and threatened to put me back in jail.

    • Tony Sharp says:

      This is not the first or the worst thing that Pitts has ever done. Along with the short female investigator at the SCSO, they take one person’s account of crimes and then make the evidence fit that narrative. I personally was put in jail and ended up spending over $6000. On a lawyer and still lost my vehicle to two crooks. Even after I showed them my records where I bought it, they told me that I faked the paperwork and threatened to put me back in jail.

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