Domestic related incident leads to arrest of one Griffin police officer and two resignations

SHEILA A. MATHEWS :::

Two Griffin Police Department (GPD) officers have resigned following an incident that resulted in one officer’s arrest.

Lt. Jeff Smith was arrested at his Pike County residence Friday, Nov. 12, in what deputies of the Pike County Sheriff’s Office (PCSO) described as a domestic related incident.

Smith was on unpaid administrative leave when he resigned Monday, Nov. 15.

Officer Morgan Prosser, who was hired in August 2021 and was a subordinate officer under Smith’s immediate supervision in the GPD Uniform Patrol Division, was present at Smith’s home on Nov. 12 prior to the incident that led to Smith’s arrest.

PCSO Deputy Casey Hammond, the arresting officer, charged Smith was one count each of second-degree nonviolent cruelty to children, simple assault and criminal trespass. Both the cruelty to children and simple assault charges were brought under the Georgia Family Violence Act. Cited as the victim was Smith’s 12-year-old stepchild.

According to arrest warrants obtained from Pike County Magistrate Court, Smith allegedly kicked in his stepchild’s bedroom door. Hammond testified that the child, “stated that he was afraid of Mr. Smith when he kicked in the door.”

Hammond’s arrest warrants also described the alleged domestic dispute involving Smith and his wife, the juvenile’s mother.

“Mr. Smith was heard on audio recording using profanity. The juvenile was observed to cry or sob for most of the hour and twenty minutes from the time the juvenile called 911 to the time deputies left the scene,” the arrest warrant stated, adding that the “loud and verbal altercation” with his mother caused the 12-year-old excessive mental pain.

Police Chief Yates refused to be interviewed by The GRIP, but Griffin City Manager Jessica O’Connor provided additional information.

O’Connor confirmed that after Smith’s arrest, GPD administration had discussed transferring Prosser to a different shift where she would have been under the supervision of Sgt. Misty Parker Piper, Prosser’s female field training officer.

Before any transfer could take place, Prosser, who had not been placed on administrative leave, submitted her letter of resignation Nov. 17.

The GRIP originally reached out to Yates and other GPD media contacts seeking information related to this incident on Saturday, Nov. 13, the day following Smith’s arrest.

GPD Chief Mike Yates responded by email the following day stating, “The matter is under investigation so there are no comments at this time.”

However, in response to a subsequent Open Records request, the city of Griffin denied the existence of any investigative records.

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