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Commissioner Out

Commissioner Out Commissioner Out

Vidalia Police Commissioner Terminated

The City Council of Vidalia, which met in a special called meeting Friday, August 27, made a decision to end its employment agreement with Vidalia Police Commissioner Brian K. Scott, effective immediately.

The action followed Scott’s reindictment on August 20 on charges stemming from an investigation in Glynn County. Scott, who was reindicted on the charge of violation of oath by a public officer, was placed on administrative leave pending TERMINATED — Vidalia Police Commissioner Brian Scott, shown in a file photo from January 31, 2021, was terminated by the City of Vidalia on Friday, August 27, after his reindictment on charges stemming from an investigation of the Glynn County Police Department where he was previously employed.

the Council’s decision, the City of Vidalia stated in a news release issued Friday, August 27.

Scott joined the City of Vidalia as Police Chief in August 2019. He was initially indicted in Glynn County in February 2020 on multiple charges, including violation of oath by a public officer. Scott’s status was changed to Vidalia Police Commissioner following his 2020 indictment and the City of Vidalia thereafter employed him on a contract basis as Police Commissioner. continued from page

“The City of Vidalia appreciates Mr. Scott’s service to the city and our citizens. Captain James Jermon will serve as the acting Chief of Police until a person is hired to fill the position on a permanent basis,” City Manager Nick Overstreet stated. Following the indictment of Scott in February 2020, Overstreet issued an announcement that Scott had been placed on administrative leave “immediately pending investigation of the indictment and surrounding facts.” Because he had been indicted, Scott was unable to continue his duties as a Chief with the authority to make arrests, but in the interim he was named Police Commissioner. In the role of Commissioner, Scott continued to manage the day-to-day operations of the department, including the budgetary, purchasing and personnel needs. Prior to accepting the post of Vidalia Police Chief, Scott’s last position had been with the Glynn County Police Department. Scott went to work for the GCPD in 2001 and rose to the position of Division Commander for Support Services. This job involved managing fleet maintenance, facilities, training and hiring. He left this post in April 2017 to work for a private company that provided training for police officers across the country.

Scott was called back to Glynn County in September 2017 when John Powell was named interim police chief. The county manager and Chief Powell asked Scott to return to help transform the department and to implement changes. Scott served as Powell’s chief of staff and was mainly in charge of public information and community relations. He stayed at this post until taking the position in Vidalia.

He had been on the job in Vidalia only about seven months when he was among four persons named in an indictment based on allegations concerning the now-defunct Glynn-Brunswick Narcotics Enforcement Team. In the indictments returned in Glynn County in February 2020 Scott was charged with two counts of violation of oath of office by a public officer, one count of influencing a witness and one count of criminal attempt to commit a felony (subornation of perjury).

Chief Powell, who was placed on administrative leave following the indictment, was charged with three counts of violating an oath of office, two counts of influencing a witness and one count of criminal attempt to commit a felony. Prosecutors allege that Powell tried to help cover up an affair between a narcotics officer and a confidential informant, reports said. Scott and two other officers were charged in that scandal. In September 2020, Glynn County Superior Court Judge Anthony Harrison dismissed the violation of oath charges against Powell, Scott, and David Haney, a third GCPD officer, but refused to throw out perjury charges against all three men and witness tampering charges against Powell and Scott. Powell was fired in January 2021 and awaits trial.

According to Scott’s attorney, Mitchell Shook of Vidalia, the indictments were, in fact, the result of long-standing animosity between members of the GCPD and then Brunswick Judicial Circuit District Attorney Jackie Johnson, who did not win re-election to her office in 2020, ending her 10-year occupation of that office. The issues in Johnson’s office were compounded by the national and international focus on another case—the controversial death in February 23, 2020 of Ahmaud Arbery. The young black man was shot and killed as he was allegedly being pursued by three white men in a Brunswick neighborhood. Johnson has come under fire as questions were raised about her office’s delayed investigation and processing — some alleged cover up — of the death. Johnson eventually recused herself from the case, citing a conflict of interest. A former investigator in Johnson’s office was among those charged in the Arbery case. Amidst the conflict over the Arbery case, Johnson also recused herself from the case involving Scott, Powell and the two other GCPD officers, admitting a conflict of interest, Shook said. A special prosecutor was then appointed. In June 2021, Johnson became the focus of a grand jury investigation because of her handling of the Arbery shooting and other cases. Earlier this year, a federal grand jury indicted father and son Gregory and Travis McMichael, along with a neighbor, William “Roddie” Bryan, on one count each of interference with civil rights and attempted kidnapping in the Arbery case. The McMichaels are also charged with using, carrying and brandishing a firearm during a violent crime. The three suspects also face state murder charges in Glynn County. Jury selection in that case begins October 7.

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