On Monday, the Davis campaign was placing signs near Riverdale High School. Davis said he made a U-turn and spotted a truck from the Scott campaign allegedly picking up his signs behind him. Davis said he was unable to get video of the activity before the truck left. He then called Clayton County Police to report that his signs had been stolen.

TRANSPARENCY NOTE: Charlton Bivins was (at the time of publication) a member of The Clayton Crescent’s Board of Trust. The Clayton Crescent’s board members have no influence over The Clayton Crescent’s editorial content and The Clayton Crescent does not endorse political candidates. We are reporting this in the interest of full transparency.

Political feuding between the Janice Scott and DeMont Davis campaigns has ratcheted up in the past 24 hours. The fight reflects a larger power struggle between Clayton County Commission Chair and former Clayton County Police Chief Jeffrey Turner and an alliance between Sheriff Victor Hill and former CCSO Chief of Staff and political consultant Mitzi Bickers.

“I have no idea whether he [Hill] is trying to take over or not,” Turner told The Clayton Crescent. “What I do know is he’s campaigning, which is within his rights to do so, for Janice Scott and Alieka Anderson. So whether it’s a takeover or not, or trying to use his influence to control those people, should they become a commissioner or retain the seat, but he has every right to campaign for whoever he wants to. So again, I don’t have any direct knowledge of whether he’s trying to use their elections as a takeover of the Board of Commissioners to be able to control three commissioners.”

On Monday, the Davis campaign was placing signs near Riverdale High School. Davis said he made a U-turn and spotted a truck from the Scott campaign allegedly picking up his signs behind him. Davis said he was unable to get video of the activity before the truck left. He then called Clayton County Police to report that his signs had been stolen.

Audio from a phone call released Tuesday by a Scott backer calling themselves “Sherrad Frink,” whose identity The Clayton Crescent has not been able to authenticate, showed that Davis and a member of CCCP talked about reporting Davis’ sign theft claim to Riverdale Police. During the call, Parks can be heard referring to Charlton Bivins, who was in his own truck and had been helping Davis. He also serves on the Clayton Crescent Board of Trust.

On Monday evening, Fox 5’s Portia Bruner spoke with Robby Mathis and Steven McCord, who were working for the Scott campaign. They told her a man in a truck allegedly had been following them on Roberts Drive. Video in the story shows Bivins in his personal truck, which had a DeMont Davis sign on the door.

Bivins, who is retired from the Dekalb County Sheriff’s Office, told The Clayton Crescent he was putting out signs when Davis called and told him about “these guys, uproot[ing] his signs, put their signs down, and take his signs, right? And this was in the Riverdale area. He calls me, I tell him, ‘Call the police.’…So he’s talking to me and trying to video it, Lord knows I wish he had truly videoed them with their hands on his signs, but he was on the phone and trying to talk and can’t video while you’re talking.”

So, I said, “well, then probably follow them, don’t let them know you’re following them, get the police, that way you’ll be able to tell the police exactly where they are.”

At that point, he said, Davis had hung up to speak with Clayton County Police.

According to Bivins, the vehicle traveled from Garden Walk to Georgia Highway 85.

“I was going northbound, and they were going southbound, and they ran into me, basically,” Bivins said. “So I followed them. Somehow DeMont didn’t make the light. They turned on Roberts Road. He didn’t make the light and it just so happened, there I was. So then I followed them. And then he turned and ended up behind me somewhere at some point. So I pulled over in Riverdale High School and just eyeballed them….Then, when they pulled off, I let DeMont know hey, they’re headed back to Highway 85.”

In less than a mile, he said, “Riverdale PD pulled up behind them…they were behind them and in front of me, it was perfect timing, and blue lights came on and they jumped out and stopped them. They never made them get out of the vehicle but they started questioning them, asked me to stay right there, they wanted to ask me a couple of questions, get my information. And then they let them go.”

Here is an excerpt of the call, which was released by “Sherrad Frink” and published to YouTube under the account name “Dummont Davis.” We are working to determine whether this is an excerpt from a larger call, as the beginning appears to have been cut off:

Chief Kevin Roberts told The Clayton Crescent that Assistant Chief Bruce Parks was the officer on the call, and that Parks had advised Clayton County dispatch of the report of stolen signs in Riverdale Police’s jurisdiction. (Clayton County dispatches for Riverdale Police.)

Roberts authenticated a recording of the call between Davis and Parks, which mentions Bivins. However, he said he didn’t know whether what had been presented had been edited or was incomplete.

“It’s no secret. He [Davis] was on the phone with the assistant chief [Parks], who did contact dispatch in reference to what he believed to be an active theft,” Roberts said. “And when I say ‘he,’ DeMont Davis called him, describing what appeared to be an active theft of signs. That is accurate.”

Roberts also confirmed that Commissioner Felicia Franklin (who has been campaigning with Hill, Scott, and BOC District 1 Commissioner Alieka Anderson) had requested the call’s release. Generally, an Open Records Request takes about three business days, and requests for 911 recordings can take longer depending on backlogs.

Parks can be heard relaying the call to dispatch: “I have someone behind someone in reference to a 45 in progress, around Highway 85.”

Riverdale Police Chief Todd Spivey told The Clayton Crescent that the call went out as a “45,” meaning theft. He added that, because the call involved one vehicle following another—a common m.o. during vehicle thefts—the responding officer apparently assumed a vehicle theft was in progress, and that that was why Riverdale PD drew down on Mathis and McCord.

“You’ll see in the video, as soon as they showed their hands, he holstered up,” Spivey added.

“I can see what that happened, but to your point, that was an assumption versus the radio traffic,” Roberts said. “There was no mention of any stolen vehicle. There were descriptions of bvehicles involved, but there was never a signal of a stolen vehicle or anything.”

Bivins said he saw a Riverdale Police officer pull a weapon at the scene.

“It was aggressive, and I have no problem with the police officer doing that because if you’re bold enough to do a home invasion or steal a vehicle in the middle of the day, I would not walk up there and say, ‘Hey, buddy, how are you?'”

Turner added that Davis “saw somebody taking his signs and he contacted public safety to report it. And the rest happened as it happened. But anybody and everybody has a right to report a crime, especially if you think, if you believe, that a crime has occurred. And he exercised his right to contact law enforcement, and allowed them to do their job. He didn’t intervene himself. He just contacted them. They intervened, and of course, the result was what you saw on TV, and the two guys that were stopped was ultimately let go. But what he saw was that he had just put signs down, and by the time he turned around, that truck was in the vicinity and when he looked for his signs, the signs were gone. So whether it was them or not, I don’t know. I don’t have that answer.”

Hill took to his Facebook page to decry the incident, accusing Davis of not backing law enforcement and of lying about his signs being stolen:

“This Commisioner [Davis] recently blocked our law-enforcement from receiving the full 23% raise that Commisioner Franklin proposed. Now he has called law-enforcement to use them for his campaign by making false accusations that he saw his signs being stolen by campaign workers for Janice Scott. This false report caused guns to be pointed at innocent campaign workers.”

Hill then urged people to vote for Scott:

Anonymous e-mails from a “Sherrad Frinks” sent to numerous county leaders and news reporters, as well as anonymous robocalls apparently from backers of the Scott campaign in the weeks leading up to the primary, have made several false allegations against Davis. Scott has hired former CCSO Chief of Staff and convicted felon Mitzi Bickers to work on her campaign. Bickers, who awaits sentencing on federal bribery and money-laundering charges on July 12, also has been working for the Anderson BOC 1 campaign. Bickers resigned from the City of Atlanta after she failed to report her outside income from her campaign consulting businesses.

Turner has formally endorsed Anderson’s opponent, Alaina Reaves, in District 1:

Hill remains under suspension from his regular duties, pending the outcome of a federal suit alleging he violated pretrial detainees’ civil rights by strapping them into restraint chairs for extended periods of time as punishment. As of press time, Hill has a dozen open federal cases against him in the U.S. Northern District Court of Atlanta. He has said that he is being persecuted by political enemies, particularly Gov. Brian Kemp, who suspended him on the recommendation of two other Georgia sheriffs. Hill’s attorneys say the state law under which Kemp suspended Hill includes a time limit that has passed. A judge has yet to rule on that matter.

Another e-mail blast on election eve from a “John David,” whose identity The Clayton Crescent has not been able to confirm, exhorted voters not to support Scott or Anderson, based on Hill’s support for them, and alleging “[t]heir first order of business will be to remove” CFO Ramona Bivins, COO Detrick Stanford, Police Chief Kevin Roberts, Community Development Director Patrick Ejike, Parks and Recreation Director Troy Hodges, Chalonda Smith, and Human Resources Director Pamela Ambles. The e-mail claims that “Victor, Alieka, Janice, Felicia & Mitzi have been strategizing how to take over Clayton County. As we know, Victor wants one form of law enforcement. The plan is to remove Chief Roberts and the three girls [sic] will vote in Victor’s pick and his pick will bring in his loyal S.O. staff to PD and he will have control of both agencies. If you think only 7 people had their civil rights violated, then you wait until this move happens.”

We left voicemails with Franklin, Anderson, and Hill’s representative at CCSO, Sgt. Hewitt, and an SMS text message for Scott (whose voicemail was full), seeking comment on the race and on opposition claims that Hill is allegedly trying to take over the BOC and police department.

The Clayton Crescent does not endorse candidates for political office.

Robin Kemp is executive editor and CEO of The Clayton Crescent, which she founded in 2020. She has worked for Gambit, CNN, The Weather Channel, Clayton News, Henry Herald, and numerous freelance outlets....

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