Clayton County District 3 Commissioner Felicia Franklin has mass-forwarded another e-mail containing allegations about a county employee.
This time, the employee is a Clayton County Police officer under grand jury indictment for murder in a Fulton County raid involving the U.S. Marshals Service, and the department head being called on the carpet before other department heads, elected officials, and reporters is Police Chief Kevin Roberts.
Michell Williams, whose false claim about Parks and Recreation employee Brandon Turner’s legal status prompted a similar mass-mailing, sent a new e-mail Tuesday morning asking why Sgt. Kristopher Hutchens was allegedly “teaching at the police shooting range? He’s still on the swat team and is teaching a swat class today at the u.s. marshals office.”
Williams did not say how they had access to any alleged assignments and movements of a Clayton County SWAT officer or a U.S. Marshal training exercise, nor who authorized them to make that information public. The Clayton Crescent e-mailed Williams to ask where they got that information and whether they were themselves in law enforcement. Williams did not reply by press time.
Franklin replied to all on the chain, asking, “Chief Roberts, is this true? If so, I am requesting a detailed response, for the board via this email by close of business today, as to why?”
Roberts is one of several department heads allegedly targeted for removal as part of a political fight between Sheriff Victor Hill and BOC Chairman Jeff Turner.
Roberts sent that detailed response, along with two attachments: paperwork, including the BOC’s approval with Franklin’s signature on it, related to Hutchens’ assignment to the federal task force; and a copy of Hutchens’ December 8, 2021 suspension of police powers and assignment to administrative duties at CCPD, pending clearance from Internal Affairs. Roberts said that Hutchens was acting as a safety officer, not an instructor:
According to Roberts, “Kristopher Hutchens was assigned to the U.S. Marshal’s Regional Fugitive Task Force. During that assignment, he was involved in a shooting incident. The incident was investigated by the U.S. Department of Justice, resulting in no criminal charges against the officers/agents. Sergeant Hutchens has not been convicted of any wrongdoing. Recently, Sergeant Hutchens was indicted on state charges in Fulton County, as such I provide the following:
“Kristopher Hutchens was assigned to the U.S. Marshal’s Regional Fugitive Task Force. He was involved in a shooting incident with an armed suspect in Atlanta on August 5, 2016 while acting as a Federal law enforcement officer.
“The incident was investigated by federal authorities, as he was acting under the authority of the U.S. Marshal’s Service (USMS) at the time of this incident. The USMS administratively investigated the shooting with no criminal or administrative charges filed.
“Hutchens was promoted to the rank of Sergeant on November 23, 2019, and remained with the Regional Fugitive Task Force. He was transferred back to Uniform Patrol Division in December, 2020.
“The Civil Action by the estate and mother of the deceased in this incident ended in Summary Judgment for the defendant officers in an Order Filed on February 24, 2021.
“In June of 2021, the U.S. Marshal’s Service offered a part-time training position for Sergeant Hutchens. This was the first such request we have received from a Federal Agency asking for a specific employee to serve as a part-time instructor. This illustrates Sergeant Hutchens knowledge, skills and abilities as an instructor. The Board of Commissioners approved this arrangement in Resolution 2021-179 with Sergeant Hutchens providing this training and the Marshal’s Service reimbursing the County for any overtime earned.
“On December 7, 2021, the Department received a copy of the Fulton County warrant for Sergeant Hutchens that was dated October 28, 2021. On December 8, 2021, his police powers were suspended and he was placed on Administrative Duties. Because of his training background, he was assigned to the in-service training unit at the range.
“Sergeant Hutchens and the other defendant in this case filed a motion to remove the Fulton County criminal case to Federal Court as they were acting as Federal Officers at the time of this incident. The hearing on this motion has been set for September 6, 2022.
“Sergeant Hutchens holds a General Instructor’s Certification from Georgia Peace Officer Standards and Training Council. He is not a Firearms Instructor. He does indeed assist the Firearms Instructors at the Range as a safety officer but only a certified Firearms Instructor can conduct the qualification courses.
“The totality of circumstances in this case justify my decision to keep Sergeant Hutchens at work in a non-sworn administrative capacity until the case is resolved.”
Hutchens, who has pleaded not guilty, was involved in the 2016 shooting death of Jamarion Robinson, a former Clark Atlanta University football player suffering from mental illness. Hutchens and other law enforcement officials were serving two felony warrants on Robinson in East Point. According to the AJC’s Shaddi Abusaid and Bill Rankin, Robinson allegedly refused to surrender and fired on police. Fox 5’s Aungelique Proctor reported that Robinson was shot 59 times and suffered 76 gunshot wounds, according to a medical examiner’s report, and died at the scene.
Franklin has not commented on why she is sending allegations against county employees to the media and various officials instead of going through Human Resources.