Former Georgia deputy was sentenced Tuesday for illegal gun possession after getting caught in investigation into ‘violent extremist group’
Former Wilkinson County Sherriff’s deputy Cody Richard Griggers, 28, was sentenced Tuesday to more than three years in federal prison after pleading guilty in April, to possessing an illegal gun
Prosecutors said Griggers disgraced the trust giving to law enforcement officers by espousing violent extremism and possessing a cache of unregistered weapons while on duty, including a machine gun with a silencer and obliterated serial number
Griggers was tripped by the posts and images he posted on the boards of his secret hate group
In one text he bragged about beating a Blackman in custody
A former Georgia sheriff’s deputy who spewed racial slurs and spoke positively about the Holocaust was sentenced Tuesday to more than three years in prison for possessing an illegal gun.
The former Wilkinson County deputy and U.S. Marine veteran arrested in a federal investigation into a white supremacist group will spend nearly four years in prison for possession of 11 illegal firearms, including a sawed-off shotgun and a machine gun he carried in his patrol car.
Cody Richard Griggers, a former deputy with the Wilkinson County Sheriff’s Office, was jailed after pleading guilty in April to charges brought by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Middle District of Georgia.
U.S. District Court Judge Tilman “Tripp” Self sentenced Cody Richard Griggers to 44 months in a federal prison and a year of probation.
Federal agents arrested Griggers, 28, last year as part of an investigation in to a group that called itself “Shadow Moses.”
In a series of text messages sent to other members of the group, Griggers bragged of plans to commit racial violence and talked about a coming civil war in which he hoped to recruit members of the military and law enforcement. The former Georgia deputy bragged in messages with members of an extremist group that he had brutalized a Black man in custody and that he intended to charge Black people with felonies to keep them from voting, federal authorities revealed in court last week.
Text messages sent by Griggers in 2019 when he was still working as a deputy sheriff, show that he told members of the “Shadow Moses” group, “I’m going to charge them with whatever felonies I can to take away their ability to vote,” according to an FBI affidavit.
Griggers was fired from the department in November 2020 after the FBI contacted the sheriff about an investigation regarding illegal guns and a man who had made violent political statements on social media.
Griggers pled guilty to one count of owning a prohibited firearm but prosecutors said the additional firearms seized were counted in his sentence.
While the judge stressed he was being sentenced for that crime and not for his words, most of the hour-long hearing centered on his violent racist rhetoric in the text chain.
Assistant U.S. Attorney William Keyes said the Department of Justice did not consider Griggers’ statements “mere bragging.”
“The fact that he was was in law enforcement makes it even more concerning,” Keyes said.
In some of the texts, Griggers talked of planting evidence and falsely charging Black people.
“Castrate, kill, remove voting rights,” Griggers wrote in an October 2019 message.
“The only problem is you can’t expect to get them all that way,” he wrote.
In one text he bragged about beating a Black man in custody: “Oh, got wrapped up in my AR and forgot to tell y’all that I beat the sh-t out of a n-gger Saturday. (Expletive) tried to steal (a gun magazine) from the local gun store. … Sheriff’s dept. said it looked like he fell,” the affidavit noted, quoting Griggers.
He described the beating as “sweet stress relief.”
Before passing sentence, Judge Self, a former Army officer and Trump appointee to the bench, lambasted Griggers for harming the reputation of police and the military and providing ammunition to people and groups “who are trying to tear this country apart.”
“Now you have helped some of the very people you thought you were against,” he said. “The stuff you said about planting evidence? That just plays into (their) hands.”
Self described Griggers as “a lonely kid with a hole in your heart” who said things to try to be accepted, but he said the texts were harmful.
“You gave people in this country who are trying to take weapons away a weapon to do it,” he said.
In court, Griggers in tears, he told the judge the texts were “jokes.”
“They were jokes, but it’s nothing to joke about. It has a real impact,” he said, adding that he had brought discredit on people around him.
“Law enforcement officers should be above reproach, and the vast majority of them are.
Cody Griggers disgraced that trust by espousing violent extremism and possessing a cache of unregistered weapons while on duty, including a machine gun with a silencer and obliterated serial number,” Acting U.S. Attorney Peter D. Leary said in a statement.
“Officers are never above the laws they swear to uphold, and I thank our law enforcement partners for helping us hold this disgraced former deputy accountable.”
Griggers got the attention of the FBI during an investigation into a California man making “violent political statements on social media,” according to the Department of Justice.
In a group text including the original target, Griggers “made statements that he was manufacturing and acquiring illegal firearms, explosives and suppressors.”
“He also expressed viewpoints consistent with racially motivated violent extremism, including the use of racial slurs, slurs against homosexuals and making frequent positive references to the Nazi Holocaust,” prosecutors said in a statement.
When officials searched his home in November, officers found 11 illegal guns including a machine gun with an “obliterated” serial number that was registered to someone else inside his police car, and an unregistered short barrel shotgun inside his house.