Muscogee County District Attorney-elect Mark Jones has drawn criticism from a Georgia State senator and past president of the Columbus and state Fraternal Order of Police.
Over the weekend, Sen. Randy Robertson posted on a closed FOP Facebook page that the newly elected DA was “dangerous and reckless.”
Robertson’s post was shared by some in the law enforcement community — that’s how it became public.
Robertson is a retired Muscogee County Sheriff’s Office major and is finishing his first term in the General Assembly.
Mark Jones was elected district attorney on June 9th in a campaign that centered around criminal justice reform. Jones effectively used social media — primarily Facebook live — to communicate his message. He defeated three-term incumbent Julia Slater.
“This man’s comments and actions have created a REAL danger to the lives of Law Enforcement Officers and their Families,” Robertson wrote in his letter to the FOP members, family, and friends.
Jones calls Robertson’s comments disturbing. He says his focus is on the bad apples. That’s not how the former deputy sees it.
“With what we are going through in the nation — police brutality, excessive force, police misconduct,” Jones said. “As I have stated earlier, there’s corrupt lawyers. There’s corrupt cops. We can’t have a culture of silence anymore to protect. We have to step up and stick up for people even when it’s the police perpetrating some of this stuff.”
That is not how Robertson sees what Jones said on the campaign trial.
“What I pointed out to this group is law enforcement because a lot of the rhetoric that has been spoken that law enforcement officers and their families have been placed in the crosshairs of hate,” Robertson said. “What has happened here is while someone is running a campaign, there are times they get so caught up in the energy of the campaign sometimes they say things not realizing the collateral damage their statements can have.”
Jones said this is about good cops and bad cops. He said there are bad officers everywhere — including Columbus.
“If they commit crimes,” Jones said. “I will go after them. As I have stated, we have a lot of good cops. Unfortunately, the last 12 years, we have not had a good DA, as the voters decided, who has been prosecuting their cases. … I think they are going to love me — the good ones. But if you are a bad cop, yeah, we’re coming after you — for sure.”
Robertson says the FOP is not in the business of protecting bad officers.
“It is not our position that we tolerate corrupt law enforcement officers, lazy law enforcement officers or law enforcement officers who are in the career for the wrong reason.”