Griffin PD lieutenant fired for recording meeting with Police Chief Mike Yates

Griffin Police Department Chief Mike Yates received verbal counseling and former Lt. Chris Wilson was terminated following the investigation of an audio recording of a meeting involving the two officers. Photo courtesy of the city of Griffin

SHEILA A. MATHEWS :::

The city of Griffin internal investigation of an audio recording of a meeting involving Griffin Police Department Chief Mike Yates and Lt. Chris Wilson has concluded and resulted in Wilson’s termination.

Wilson, a nearly 15-year veteran of the Griffin Police Department and member of Yates’ command staff when the meeting was recorded, announced the investigative findings Thursday night in a Facebook post later verified by The GRIP.

“Today, after almost 15 years with the City of Griffin Police Department, the City Manager had a letter delivered to my residence terminating my employment as of close of business today (Thursday),” Wilson wrote. “I am no longer employed by the City of Griffin.”

Wilson went on to acknowledge that recording the meeting with the Chief of Police was a violation of the GPD Standard Operating Procedure, but stressed it was not illegal and that he had done so in an attempt to protect himself from what he described as Yates’ long-term and ongoing “unethical and illegal” conduct.

“The termination was for recording the Chief bullying, threatening to run me off, and to withhold documentation from my personnel file until he needed to fire me all while cursing at me, and admitting to having placed documentation in my personnel file that isn’t 100 percent accurate. Recording the Chief without making him aware is a policy violation (not unlawful in Georgia),” Wilson said. “For these reasons, I felt compelled to record my encounter with the Chief in an effort to protect myself against these unethical and illegal practices that have been forced on me since January of 2021.”

Griffin City Manager Jessica O’Connor confirmed Wilson’s termination was based on a policy violation.

“He violated policy and he can’t be trusted because of it,” O’Connor said.

O’Connor said the policy violation and its effect was the sole basis of Wilson’s termination.

“I mean the fact that I can’t trust him, the Chief can’t trust him, the Police Department. I don’t see how fellow officers could trust him, so he’s not going to be able to work here.”

As part of the internal investigation, officials considered conducting a fitness for duty evaluation on Wilson, but ultimately that test was not performed.

“No, we went through our psychiatrist that we use, and she determined it wasn’t needed, so we didn’t do it,” O’Connor said. “I asked if we felt like he needed to do a fitness for duty test and then we sent it to the psychiatrist, and they reviewed the file and made that determination.”

While Wilson was terminated for recording the meeting, Yates received verbal counseling.

“Just in regard to some of the language that he (Yates) used,” O’Connor explained.

She said Wilson’s allegations regarding Yates’ conduct being “unethical and illegal” were unsubstantiated.

“I don’t agree with Mr. Wilson in that regard, but that was looked into,” O’Connor said. “His allegations were, but I disagree with him.”

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Comments

  1. If Wilson can not be trusted I wonder why most of the police officers wanted to work on Lt. Wilson’s shift? Why were the officer’ s that made multiple visits to Lt. Wilson’s residence to hand deliver letters and pick up the squad car, weapon and badge remorseful? Also, what about all the good and the positive impact Lt. Wilson made in many lifes of adults and children. There’s numerous commendations that Lt. Wilson received that should be in his personal file. Lt. Wilson is a fine respected individual, a Christian man that I for one would want in my corner. This is a pity that our city has lost a fine officer for such a petty issue. If you look further, can you find worse policy breakers?

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