A group calling itself The Real Citizens and Tax Payers of Clayton County says it will hold a “Clayton County Residents Back the Blue.” rally in support of Clayton County Police Chief Kevin Roberts on Saturday, August 6 from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. in front of Clayton County Police Headquarters in Jonesboro. A press conference is scheduled for 3 p.m.
Saturday’s planned rally follows a press conference on the front steps of police headquarters Thursday by family and supporters of Jamarion Robinson, who was shot 56 times after he allegedly fired on U.S. Marshals during a 2016 raid in East Point six years ago.
That group, led by Robinson’s mother and a public relations handler, demanded that a Clayton County officer who had been assigned to the task force, Sgt. Kristopher Hutchens, be fired. Monteria Robinson told reporters that she would not hesitate to bring down the wrath of Clayton County voters if her demands were not met.
Robinson was a college student who recently had been diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia, according to his mother. The marshals were attempting to serve warrants after Robinson allegedly tried to burn down his house while his mother was inside and assaulted two officers. His mother said the marshals should have sent in a robot or called for a mental health professional. She also says that her private investigation team found bullets had been fired at her son’s crotch, through his palms, and that trajectories suggested some shots may have been fired while someone was standing over Robinson. She did not state that Hutchens had fired those shots.
Hutchens, along with Eric Heinze, who is assistant chief inspector for the U.S. Marshals Southeast Regional Fugitive Task Force, is under indictment on murder and several other charges in the shooting. Both have pleaded not guilty.
Hutchens and other officers had been cleared in previous investigations by the USMS and the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, and a judge threw out a civil suit that Robinson’s mother had filed against them.
They have asked the U.S. Northern District Court of Georgia to move the case to federal court from Fulton County because they were serving as federal officers during the 2016 raid. A hearing on that motion is scheduled for September 6.
All politics is local
Carol Yancey, a frequent critic of Sheriff Victor Hill and District 3 Commissioner Felicia Franklin, and who attended Thursday’s press conference, said, “The narrative the outsiders gave of Chief Roberts is not the chief I and others know and have dealt with over the past 13 years and not one willing to compromise his integrity and believes in high standards regarding the color of the law for himself and his officers and doesn’t do politics.”
Yancey added that the people who took part in Thursday’s press conference were outsiders from Fulton and Dekalb Counties, based on their license plates.
During Thursday’s press conference, one participant told The Clayton Crescent, “I have a Victor Hill sticker on my car.”
A Facebook post from Organized Clayton read, “Dear Concerned Citizens, You deserve the TRUTH! Don’t be confused by outsider information! Come and get the FACTS!! Join the concerned citizens of Clayton County to learn about the facts regarding the Sergeant Hutchens situation…”
Robinson was killed in East Point, which is in Fulton County, and Fulton County is prosecuting the case against Hutchens.
Roberts suspended Hutchens’ police powers and placed him on administrative duty when the warrant was served in December 2021.
In August 2021, the Clayton County Board of Commissioners approved a request by the U.S. Marshals Service for Hutchens to serve part-time as a trainer for that agency. At the time, no one mentioned Hutchens’ involvement in Robinson’s shooting. A resolution for his appointment passed 3-1 as part of the consent agenda. Franklin was the lone dissenter, but not because Hutchens had been part of the raid five years earlier; her no vote was about a millage-rate matter. A Fulton COunty grand jury indicted Hutchens and Heinze two months later.
This week, Franklin, who is politically allied with Hill in what critics call a bid to take over CCPD and the Board of Commissioners, mass e-mailed a claim by a Michell or Michelle Williams that Hutchens was assigned to train U.S. Marshals and was training them this week.
According to Roberts, Hutchens was not training anyone.
In response to Franklin’s request for more information, Roberts wrote, “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.”
He added, “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,” Roberts said.
The day before, TV personality Rashad Richey took Roberts and the Clayton County Board of Commissioners to task over the claim, as well as the fact that Hutchens’ administrative duty was on the range.
Roberts said Hutchens was assigned to a training group because of his background, but that Hutchens was serving as a safety officer and not a firearms trainer. He then reassigned Hutchens to a different administrative role Wednesday. 11 Alive’s Jon Shirek reported that Georgia POST suspended Hutchens’ instructor certification the same day.
Roberts got his start in law enforcement as a Georgia Department of Corrections officer in 1994. In 1998, he joined CCPD and worked his way up through the ranks from patrolman to lieutenant in charge of the Special Operations Unit, then captain of a command sector. He was promoted to major and led both the Uniform Patrol and Criminal Investigation Divisions. He was named deputy chief of field operations in 2017 and was appointed chief of police in 2018.
Roberts, who holds a B.A. in business administration and an MPSA in public safety, has completed more than 2,500 training hours in law enforcement. He is a member of the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives (NOBLE), Atlanta Metropol, and the Georgia Association of Chiefs of Police.