Defense attorneys in deputies’ trial question Deputy Edmond’s credibility

The following is a summary of the trial of United States vs. Wiley Griffin et al. We are attempting to be as accurate as possible in reporting the trial, given the restrictions on recording equipment within the courtroom. The article contains statements and claims made in court by attorneys and witnesses during the course of opening statements and testimony. Those statements and claims do not represent the views or opinions of or its parent company, Flint Media Inc.

This is a continuation of another article about the opening day of the trial of three Decatur County Sheriff’s deputies and one former Grady County deputy.

Government’s Witness – Vincent Edmond

The prosecution next called Vincent Edmond, who has been a law enforcement officer for 12 years with several agencies, most recently as a Decatur County Sheriff’s deputy.

From 2010 to 2012, Edmond was a Grady County Sheriff’s deputy and had recently been hired by the Decatur County Sheriff’s Office in 2012. Edmond knew Wiley Griffin IV from when the two worked together at the Grady County Sheriff’s Office.

Edmond was on duty on the night of Bikefest, but was not there during the time of the incident as he was conducting routine patrol around the county.

Prosecutor Rita Berkower asked Edmond about the equipment he uses and his training on use of force.

Edmond said he originally had a Maglite but later moved to a Streamlight, which he described as about 10-12 inches long, made of black metal, weighing about 1-2 pounds and powered by batteries.

Edmond said he had training on use of force every year, and the training covered use of impact weapons, tasers, verbal commands, grabbing, takedowns, punching, strikes and firearms.

Edmond said he had never made any felony arrests at Bikefest but had made misdemeanor arrests.

Edmond said Wiley Griffin IV called him at about 5 a.m. on Sunday morning, several hours after the incident involving Aaron Parrish. Deputy Edmond said Griffin IV asked him to give his then-girlfriend, who had been at Bikefest, a ride home because she had been drinking.

Edmond said Griffin IV told him about a “fight” he had gotten into in which he had to restrain someone and had to use a flashlight to hit the offender. Edmond said he talked to Griffin IV more in-depth about the accident the next day. According to Edmond, Griffin IV said someone had been fighting with Deputy Liz Croley and Deputy Chris Kines, and that the same person had grabbed a deputy’s gun, at which point Griffin IV used his flashlight to hit the offender.

Around Thanksgiving 2013, Edmond had lunch with Wiley Griffin IV and Griffin told him he had heard the FBI was investigating the Bikefest incident involving Aaron Parrish. Edmond said he asked Griffin why he was worried, to which he responded that when he struck Aaron Parrish the first time, no one had said anything about Parrish grabbing a gun.

Edmond said he was shocked by that statement, because he felt “there wasn’t any reason to strike [Parrish] the flashlight” if he had not tried to grab a deputy’s gun.

Cross examination

Defense attorneys then cross-examined Edmond. They claimed Edmond did not tell a federal grand jury about Griffin IV mentioning a flashlight on the morning following the incident.

Edmond was asked about whether he knew Chip Nix. He said he had been to dinner with Nix and Nix’s girlfriend at the time on two different occasions since the incident. Edmond said he had texted Nix about the case, and had texted Nix as recently as two weeks before the trial, after Edmond had received a subpoena to testify in court.

Edmond was asked why he lied to a defense attorney’s investigator who asked him whether he had talked to an FBI agent about the case. Edmond said he said he had not talked with an FBI agent because he was at the Sheriff’s Office, and other deputies (including Croley) were nearby.

Edmond testified that in the ensuing months as the federal government’s investigation into the incident went on, he became concerned about the possibility of “becoming alienated from the Sheriff’s Department” or might lose his job for talking with the FBI.

Edmond’s past history as a law enforcement was also brought up.

Edmond was a Grady County Sheriff’s deputy on July 26, 2011 when he pursued a fleeing car from Grady County across the state line into Florida. Defense attorneys’ version of what happened is that Edmond pursued the car across the state line and the driver jumped out on foot. The suspect fled into the woods, and numerous other officers arrived to assist Edmond in searching for the suspect.

The defense attorneys questioned Edmond about whether or not he had fired his weapon during the incident and if so, did he report doing so?

Edmond said he did not say he had used his gun in an incident report, but did so on a use of force form.

Edmond testified two people got out of the car, and the driver pointed a handgun at him. Edmond said he fired at the suspects twice, but did not hit them.

Defense attorneys pressed Edmond on his reported statement to a female law enforcement officer from Leon County that he had not fired his gun during the pursuit.

Edmond essentially said that his adrenaline was pumping after the suspects jumped out and ran into the woods, so that he initially had trouble recalling details of everything he had done. However, by the time he spoke with his supervising officer later that night, Edmond said he did reporting firing at the suspect.

Day 2 of the trial starts Thursday at 8 a.m. Please continue to check for updates.

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