A former Georgia sheriff's deputy who was arrested during a probe dealing with threats of political violence and extremism was sentenced Tuesday to more than three years in prison for possessing an illegal gun, federal prosecutors said.
Cody Richard Griggers, 28, was sentenced to three years and eight months in prison after pleading guilty to one weapons count in April.
Prosecutors said that in group texts, Griggers used racist and extremist language. He claimed that he beat a Black theft suspect and intended to use criminal charges to take away the right to vote, and discussed killing liberal politicians, according to court documents.
"This former law enforcement officer violated his oath of office in many ways, the most egregious was by threatening the very citizens he was sworn to protect with his words of racially motivated violence,” Chris Hacker, FBI special agent in charge of the Atlanta field office, said in a statement.
"Now he is being held accountable by serving time in prison and never being able to wear the blue again," Hacker said.
Some of the statements, including the claim of assaulting a suspect, are from August 2019, according to an FBI affidavit. Files show he wasn't hired by the sheriff's department until November 2019, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. The sheriff has told The Telegraph of Macon that the claim a suspect was beaten did not happen.
In November, authorities found 11 illegal firearms in his home and sheriff's office vehicle, prosecutors said, including one described as a machine gun with an obliterated serial number.
He was arrested after the FBI was investigating another man for violent political statements on social media, which included calls for a vigilante militia, according to court documents.
Investigators then found group texts in which Griggers talked about making illegal guns, explosives and suppressors, officials said. In addition to the slurs and other views consistent with violent extremism, he made "frequent positive references to the Nazi holocaust," prosecutors said.
Griggers' attorney did not respond to a request for comment Tuesday night.