GBI investigating Griffin police chief - CBS46 News

GBI investigating Griffin police chief

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The Georgia Bureau of Investigations is taking a close look at Frank Strickland, the Griffin Police Chief. Agents are looking into whether Strickland ordered an illegal background check on members of a Spalding County grand jury.

Tawanna Pruitt, who said she served on a recent grand jury, said some sources in the city of Griffin told her that she may have been a target of the alleged background checks.

"We are not guaranteed who he ran background checks on, but if it didn't involve me, I believe somebody would have said it doesn't involve me," said Pruitt.

Tuesday afternoon, the Spalding County District Attorney's Office released a letter it sent to the GBI.

The letter, dated May 20, said, "Over the weekend it came to my attention that the Georgia Criminal Information Center reported to the Spalding County Sheriff's Office that, (name redacted) the Chief of Police in Griffin ran a criminal history check upon a grand juror. A couple of days later the attorney representing a Griffin police officer, who had been indicted for making statements to the sheriff's office and to the 911 center, filed a challenge to the indictment on the basis that one or more felons served on the grand jury that indicted the police officer. If true, the conduct may be criminal."

Pruitt, who said she is not a convicted felon, believes Strickland was looking out for one of his own.
"To me, I think he did it for selfish reasons, to protect this officer," said Pruitt.

Strickland declined to speak on camera to CBS Atlanta, but he did release a statement that says in part, "The Griffin Police Department received information that a possible convicted felon had served on a recent grand jury panel. Under Georgia law a police agency can request a criminal history. One name was entered into the records check, and it was revealed that this person was a convicted felon and had served on a grand jury. The information was not disseminated to anyone."

Pruitt said she isn't convinced only one background check was conducted.

"I didn't give him permission to invade my privacy. I wasn't involved in a crime. I haven't signed anything to the chief or the city police department to say they have permission to make an inquiry or anything about me," Pruitt said.

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