A former Cave Spring Police Officer, John Chandler, was found not guilty of felony cruelty to animals after he shot a dog while on duty back on April 30, 2021.
Reports said that Chandler and another officer were dispatched to a “fight in progress” with the aid of Floyd County Police.
When the officers arrived, officer #1 parked the patrol vehicle and exited the vehicle to investigate the fight. When Officer Chandler exited the patrol car he was challenged by a large aggressive dog. Reports said that the animal was barking and showing its teeth. Chandler said that the dog eventually began to back away, resulting in him proceeding to aid in the altercation. It was then the dog again became aggressive and lunged toward Officer Chandler.
Chandler’s attorney argued that due to the fact that his client was not issued a taser, baton, or pepper spray he was forced to shoot the dog with his firearm.
A week after the incident, Officer Chandler was notified that he was being criminally investigated for the incident. After an eight-month investigation, Floyd County District Attorney Leigh Patterson informed Chandler that she would be taking the charge to the Grand Jury. In the process, Chandler resigned from the Cave Spring Police Department.
District Attorney Leigh Patterson
According to Greg James, Executive Director of the Georgia Law Enforcement Organization, “Officer Chandler contacted me for guidance with his case, and I reviewed the case in length. I could not determine a legitimate cause for criminal action, nor could I find any policies that were broken during the course of the incident. I did however notice that there was heavy political pressure on the District Attorney in her re-election campaign, and I saw where Chief Greg Webb had been deceptive with his officer and was refusing to support his actions.”
The jury recently ruled that Chandler’s action was in self-defense and was acquitted of the felony charge.
The Georgia Law Enforcement Organization supported a Cave Springs Police Officer who has been found not guilty of animal cruelty after his department failed to do so. Please read the attached memo and then read a conversation with the officer below:
1. HOW DID YOU FEEL WHEN YOU FOUND OUT YOU WERE BEING CHARGED CRIMINALLY?
When I found out that the case was being investigated criminally, I was confused. Because the Chief had already told me that everything was fine. About a week after the incident took place, Chief Webb called me and told me that he was giving me a heads up that the Floyd County Police Department contacted him to conduct a criminal investigation into the shooting. I found it odd that they would reach out to him to conduct such an investigation, but I didn’t give it too much thought. When the Floyd County investigator contacted me, I went to his office for an interview in reference to the use of force incident.
One of the first things the investigator stated was that the investigation was conducted at the request of the Cave Spring Police Department. I made the investigator aware that I was told that his agency contacted mine to initiate an investigation. After the interview was complete, I didn’t hear anything for weeks. I asked Chief Webb what the outcome of everything was, and he advised that he did not know, and would contact the investigator for an update. When Chief Webb did contact me, he advised that the investigation/case was turned over to the District Attorney’s office.
I asked Chief Webb what was going on, and he advised he did not know why it was given to the DA’s office, and he was just as out of the loop as I was about it. Chief Webb lied for months saying he did not know anything about the case until I was served with a Grand Jury notification by the DA’s office. I called Chief Webb the day I was served, and he advised that this was the first he heard about it.
Then when I told him that the DA investigator told me that he did know about it. Chief Webb advised that they called him the day prior to me being served to advise him of what was taking place. Prior to being served paperwork, I did try to get in touch with the investigator over the case and the DA, but no one would advise of anything in reference to the case. I was never placed on admin leave and worked all the way until the day I was indicted. I was even promoted during this time.
I say all that to give a reference to how I felt, and how I still feel about the situation. I felt betrayed and deceived because Chief Webb lied and stated that there was a formal complaint, and when I asked to see it, he told me that he did not have it. The complainant lied during the investigation and posted lies on social media about the case. Nothing was ever done to her about it. It seemed that everyone wanted to hang me for protecting myself against a dog. I honestly felt that my life was less than that of a dog. It’s just wild to me to even think that my life and well-being mean nothing to my former Chief and everyone involved in the prosecution of the case.
The District Attorney is an avid animal lover, and the ADA over the case said that this case was a priority because of her boss’s personal preference for animals. So in terms, it seems that politics supersede the law, and it doesn’t matter if my safety is in jeopardy as long as the powers that be are content.
2. WHAT HAS YOUR LIFE BEEN LIKE WHILE YOU’VE BEEN AWAITING TRIAL?
While I waited my life has been agonizing. I avoided going to the store or any public places if I could help it. I watched a lot of opportunities pass me by because my life was on hold. The DA wanted to put me in prison for 5 years and would hardly compromise on anything. Every day was a constant mental struggle weighing on the balance of what would happen to my life. I have 3 kids that I was afraid they would take me away from. It wasn’t easy dealing with the financial losses that I took because of the pay cut I had to take.
3. DO YOU FEEL THAT THESE INQUIRIES WOULD’VE HAPPENED IN ANOTHER JURISDICTION, OR WERE YOU BEING USED AS A POLITICAL TOOL BY DISTRICT ATTORNEY LEIGH PATTERSON?
I have never worked anywhere in 10 years that would have treated me like this, but my former Chief was so concerned about his image that he did the most to distance himself from me because the complainant posted this incident on social media. It is a well-known fact that the Floyd County DA is not personally fond of police officers but will play the part for political purposes. It looks good on her to prosecute an officer, and she will jump at any chance she can find to prosecute police officers. It doesn’t matter who will admit it openly or not. EVERYONE knows this that is in Law Enforcement in this area.
4. HOW DOES IT FEEL TO FINALLY BE VINDICATED?
I am thankful to God that I’m finally cleared of this situation. It taught me many lessons, and I feel like I have my life back again. It has been a very rough 5 months.
(COOSA VALLEY NEWS)