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Dog bitten twice by copperhead in just 2 days

When people refer to you as “snake-bitten,” it means you’ve got bad luck.  

So, in the case of Buddy the German Shepherd, it stands to reason that he has really bad luck.

The 7-year-old dog from Dunwoody was bitten twice in two days by a Copperhead snake in his owner’s backyard.

“He came running back in about five minutes and he had blood on his face,” Rusty Jones told Channel 2’s Mike Petchenik. “You could see his face was swelling and there was just blood that got the attention.”

Jones took Buddy to the vet and the dog was put on antibiotics.

“It scared me,” said Jones. "I didn’t know what to think.”

Two days later, Buddy was playing in the backyard when Jones heard him yelp in pain.

“He’s been bitten again,” Jones said. “He’s a strong animal but it’s brought him down a little bit.”

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Doctor who made music videos in operating room facing several malpractice lawsuits Georgia's own Caleb Lee Hutchinson competes in the 'American Idol' finale Shots fired in elementary school parking lot; Authorities working crime scene Veterinarian Derek Duval, of BluePearl Veterinary Partners in Sandy Springs, told Petchenik he’s seeing more snake bites as the weather gets warmer. “Luckily in Atlanta we mostly have copperheads,” he said.  “They’re the least venomous of the snakes we have in this country so it’s a pretty good snake to get bitten by if you have to get bitten by a venomous snake.” Duval said symptoms are pretty obvious in pets bitten by Copperheads. “Mostly swelling and pain at the bite site,” he said. “On the dog, it’s mostly on the nose because they’re sniffing where they shouldn’t be sniffing.” Duval said he suggests pet owners clear heavy brush or ivy from their yards and keep a closer eye on their pets. He said this year is no worse than previous years and that when the weather gets warm, pets tend to come into contact with snakes more frequently. Jones said he’s taking precautions to Buddy to prevent a “three-peat.” "He goes out on a leash now instead of free roaming the yard,” he said. “Gotta clean up the backyard. If there’s a food source, the snakes are gonna be there.”

Dog bitten twice by copperhead in just 2 days

When people refer to you as “snake-bitten,” it means you’ve got bad luck.  

So, in the case of Buddy the German Shepherd, it stands to reason that he has really bad luck.

The 7-year-old dog from Dunwoody was bitten twice in two days by a Copperhead snake in his owner’s backyard.

“He came running back in about five minutes and he had blood on his face,” Rusty Jones told Channel 2’s Mike Petchenik. “You could see his face was swelling and there was just blood that got the attention.”

Jones took Buddy to the vet and the dog was put on antibiotics.

“It scared me,” said Jones. "I didn’t know what to think.”

Two days later, Buddy was playing in the backyard when Jones heard him yelp in pain.

“He’s been bitten again,” Jones said. “He’s a strong animal but it’s brought him down a little bit.”

TRENDING STORIES:

Doctor who made music videos in operating room facing several malpractice lawsuits Georgia's own Caleb Lee Hutchinson competes in the 'American Idol' finale Shots fired in elementary school parking lot; Authorities working crime scene Veterinarian Derek Duval, of BluePearl Veterinary Partners in Sandy Springs, told Petchenik he’s seeing more snake bites as the weather gets warmer. “Luckily in Atlanta we mostly have copperheads,” he said.  “They’re the least venomous of the snakes we have in this country so it’s a pretty good snake to get bitten by if you have to get bitten by a venomous snake.” Duval said symptoms are pretty obvious in pets bitten by Copperheads. “Mostly swelling and pain at the bite site,” he said. “On the dog, it’s mostly on the nose because they’re sniffing where they shouldn’t be sniffing.” Duval said he suggests pet owners clear heavy brush or ivy from their yards and keep a closer eye on their pets. He said this year is no worse than previous years and that when the weather gets warm, pets tend to come into contact with snakes more frequently. Jones said he’s taking precautions to Buddy to prevent a “three-peat.” "He goes out on a leash now instead of free roaming the yard,” he said. “Gotta clean up the backyard. If there’s a food source, the snakes are gonna be there.”

Deputy resigns amid investigation into kilos of cocaine missing from evidence

A local law enforcement officer working for a federal task force is now off the job, accused of stealing a large amount of drugs from evidence. 

Sources told Channel 2 Action News veteran deputy, Antoine Riggins, resigned from the force last week as investigators began questioning him about two kilograms of cocaine that never made it to evidence at the jail. No criminal charges have been filed, but they are expected within days.

Gwinnett County Sheriff's Office commanders said as soon as they learned of the investigation from the district attorney, they called in the Georgia Bureau of Investigation to look at the possible corruption and specifically Riggins. 

Riggins has been with the Gwinnett County Sheriff's Office since 2004, assigned to the federal task force for two years.

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"It's shocking," said Deputy Chief Lou Solis. "The shock it's not only one of these guys, it's our guy."

Authorities said records show in at least one case three kilograms of cocaine were taken from a scene, but Riggins allegedly checked in only one kilogram into evidence lockers.

Sources said when investigators began questioning Riggins last week about the missing cocaine and two other cases where heroine and ecstasy may have disappeared, Riggins asked for a lawyer and resigned. His lawyer said Riggins will cooperate.

"They have asked Mr. Riggins to come in and give some information," said Mike Puglise, Riggins' lawyer. "He is a decorated veteran of the Iraqi War, a good man, a good family man. His children are suffering from health related problems, and he's been there as a father."

Investigators said the amount taken is way too much for personal use, so they really want to know who else, including law enforcement, might be involved. 

"They want to find out is it possible there are more people involved, and it is. Who are those people?" asked Solis.

The street value could easily be into the tens of thousands of dollars.

"Unfortunately, because of the federal, state overlap he was able to exploit a weakness in the evidence system, and it relied on his documentation which he then falsified," said Danny Porter, Gwinnett County District Attorney. 

Charges could come as early as this week against Riggins. Porter said the impact on local and federal cases could be large. 

"We have to go back and review cases in which he was a witness and that type of thing," said Porter.

Riggins' home has been searched, and phones and other items were seized. His lawyer said Riggins stands by his service record and is home now taking care of his family, including two autistic children. 

Georgia Primary 2018: Channel 2 is your home for all-day election coverage

Channel 2 Action News will have all-day primary election coverage and results on Tuesday!

Georgians will head to the polls to vote in several key contests including the races for governor, lieutenant governor and secretary of state, plus all of Georgia’s 180 House seats and 56 Senate seats. 

County commission seats and members of county school boards are also on the ballot.  

[CLICK HERE for LIVE real-time election results]

Justin Farmer and Jovita Moore  will anchor the night’s coverage on Channel 2 Action News, taking viewers to the heart of the political action.

Channel 2 reporters and photographers were spread out across metro Atlanta before the polls opened at 7 a.m. They're breaking down important local issues, checking out precincts for voting issues and camping out at the candidates' campaign headquarters.

Channel 2 Political Analyst Bill Crane and Andra Gillespie, an associate professor at Emory University, will be part of the extensive coverage, providing different perspectives, analyzing the results and offering insight into how the races will ultimately affect Georgia. 

SCHEDULE: 10 p.m. - Channel 2 Action News special digital-only coverage on WSBTV.com and in our apps 11 p.m. - The Channel 2 Action News Nightbeat at 11 p.m. with Justin Farmer and Jovita Moore

The Georgia Primary is one of the biggest nights of the election season and will set the stage for the potential runoffs and general election in November.  

Channel 2 Action News will have every angle covered throughout the day and evening, on the air and across all digital platforms.

RELATED STORIES:

LIVE real-time results from hundreds of races 2018 Georgia midterm elections: When to vote, how to register, what to bring Here are the Senate races that you should be watching House races you should be watching When are the primaries? A state-by-state list What should you do if you are denied the right to vote? Here are some tips

Once the polls close, the results will be available on WSBTV.com as they come in.

Use the hashtag #GAgovernor and follow @wsbtv on Twitter for live updates.

You can also watch on Roku, Amazon Fire and Apple TV streaming devices - just search “WSBTV” in the app store.

BREAKDOWN OF KEY RACES

(Click here for more from The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

Governor’s race

It’s a crowded race to succeed Gov. Nathan Deal, who cannot run for a third term. There are five leading Republicans and two Democrats in the May 22 primary, and all of them have different messages and policy platforms to try to compete for a sliver of the vote.

Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle may have the biggest name recognition, thanks to three statewide election victories. He’s trying to win over conservatives with promises to sign a “religious liberty” bill and expand gun rights.

Secretary of State Brian Kemp has adopted a “Georgia First” mantra and is aiming for the same rural vote that powered Donald Trump’s presidential victory in the Peach State. Kemp pledges new crackdowns on illegal immigration and new anti-gang initiatives.

Former state Sen. Hunter Hill is trying to carve out a lane as a conservative outsider. He’s vowed to eliminate the state income tax and promised not to “give an inch” on the Second Amendment.

Two other GOP candidates are trying to gain late traction. Executive Clay Tippins is emphasizing his business background — and lack of political experience — while pushing to crack down on sex trafficking and boost elementary school reading.

And state Sen. Michael Williams is trying to outflank his opponents with calls for tougher restrictions on abortion and ending tax breaks for special interests.

The Democratic ticket pits two young attorneys who endured tough childhoods and served in the Legislature together before both decided to aim for the state’s top job.

Former House Minority Leader Stacey Abrams has earned heaps of national attention for her bid to become the nation’s first black female governor and her outspoken progressive positions on issues such as gun control and higher education.

Ex-state Rep. Stacey Evans has staked out left-leaning positions, too, but she has focused her campaign largely on reversing cuts to the HOPE scholarship that Abrams brokered with Republican leaders in 2011.

Their biggest divide may be their competing strategies to retake the governor’s office for Democrats for the first time since 2002. Evans is banking on a more conventional Democratic strategy of winning over independent voters and moderates, particularly suburban women, who have fled to the GOP.

Abrams has staked her campaign on energizing 800,000 left-leaning voters, many of whom are minorities, who rarely cast ballots. She says Evans’ approach clings to the same strategy that led the party to defeats in the past four statewide races.

Lieutenant governor

Five hopefuls are running to replace Cagle as lieutenant governor.

Three Republicans and two Democrats will be on primary election ballots, each hoping to secure enough votes to represent his or her political party in November.

Former state Rep. Geoff Duncan of Cumming, former state Sen. Rick Jeffares of Locust Grove and state Sen. David Shafer of Duluth are vying for the Republican nomination.

Duncan is running as an outsider after serving five years in the state House of Representatives. Jeffares served seven years in the Senate, and Shafer served 16, including five as president pro tempore of the chamber.

While the Republican race is made up of men who are either current or former legislators, both Democrats are women making their first foray into public office.

Business executive Sarah Riggs Amico and small business owner Triana Arnold James are seeking the Democratic nomination in Tuesday’s election.

All five candidates said in addition to presiding over the Senate, the lieutenant governor’s office would put them in a position to take a leadership role in shaping the state’s policy discussions.

Secretary of state

The race for secretary of state takes on greater significance this year because Georgia is considering replacing its electronic voting machines with a system with a paper backup. The secretary of state will likely be responsible for overseeing the state’s purchase and implementation of such a system.

A pack of experienced candidates entered the race to succeed Kemp, who is running for governor after serving eight years as secretary of state.

The four Republican candidates are former Alpharetta Mayor David Belle Isle, state Rep. Buzz Brockway, state Sen. Josh McKoon and state Rep. Brad Raffensperger.

On the Democratic side, former U.S. Rep. John Barrow faces former state Rep. Dee Dawkins-Haigler and RJ Hadley, the chief deputy tax commissioner for Rockdale County.

All the candidates want to replace Georgia’s 16-year-old touchscreen voting machines with a voting system that includes a paper record for recounts and audits.

But they disagree on what voting technology the state should buy. Options include pen-and-paper ballots and touchscreens with paper.

State superintendent of schools

Five men are vying for Georgia’s top education job, and two of them — both of the Republicans — already have experience as state schools superintendent.

Incumbent Richard Woods is defending the seat against John Barge, who left after one term in an unsuccessful 2014 bid to replace Deal as governor. A central plank of Barge’s gubernatorial campaign was more money for schools, something Woods also has pushed for.

Voters concerned about school funding will have a hard time using the issue to differentiate between the candidates: All three Democrats say they want lawmakers and the governor to put more money into education, too. Sid Chapman, a former high school teacher who serves as president of the Georgia Association of Educators, is competing with two Army veterans — Otha Thornton, a former president of the National PTA, and Sam Mosteller, a former head of the Georgia chapter of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference.

Another big issue — school safety — reveals a greater divide: All three Democrats oppose arming teachers, which is allowed under state law. The two Republicans would leave that decision to the school districts, though Barge prefers trained personnel and says he’d recruit retired veterans and police officers to patrol schools.

Insurance commissioner

Three Republicans and two Democrats are battling it out to decide the party’s nominees to become Georgia’s next insurance regulator and fire marshal.

Georgia Insurance Commissioner Ralph Hudgens, who has served in the office since 2011, is retiring.

Running to replace him is Jay Florence, a former deputy commissioner who is Hudgens’ choice. Florence is running as a Republican. Jim Beck, another former Hudgens aide and the president of the Georgia Christian Coalition, is also running as a Republican, as is Tracy Jordan, a pharmacist, Realtor and former Hoschton city councilwoman.

In the Democratic primary, insurance agent Janice Laws faces off against health care advocate Cindy Zeldin.

With auto insurance premiums rising faster in Georgia than in almost any other state, all the candidates are calling for changes in state law to make it easier for the commissioner to stop or slow rate hikes. Zeldin has also proposed holding public hearings on insurance rate increases, while Beck has said the commissioner should consider fighting insurance companies in court if necessary.

In addition, the candidates said they would work with the governor’s office to get waivers to help more Georgians obtain health insurance, or they would support Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act.

Labor commissioner

Two Democrats will face off this month for the chance to challenge longtime Republican state Labor Commissioner Mark Butler.

Former Georgia State professor Richard Keatley and Fred Quinn, who recently worked for the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, both say they are better suited for the job than Butler.

The Department of Labor provides services to job seekers and employers, including running Georgia’s unemployment insurance program and overseeing child labor issues.

This is Keatley’s second attempt at running for public office. The Ohio native and former French professor ran in last year’s special election in the 6th Congressional District. He finished 16th among 18 candidates, garnering only 229 votes.

Quinn, a Tignall native who now lives in Atlanta, said his interest in the Labor Department began as a student at Paine College when he interned at one of the agency’s career centers.

Both candidates said they believe the state needs to invest in the career centers that are spread across the state, increase the minimum wage and expand educational opportunities.

Butler is running unopposed in the Republican primary.

Congress

A bevy of first-time candidates is helping shape metro Atlanta’s two most competitive congressional races this year.

No fewer than seven political newbies have qualified to challenge Republican U.S. Rep. Rob Woodall, who has not faced serious opposition since he was first elected in 2010 to represent the 7th Congressional District, based in Gwinnett and Forsyth counties. Six of those opponents are Democrats, including first-generation Americans David Kim and Ethan Pham. Georgia State University professor Carolyn Bourdeaux, a Democrat, has bested the field in fundraising. Woodall faces one GOP challenger to his right in this month’s primary, Marine veteran Shane Hazel, although he has easily outdone the challenger in fundaising.

In the 6th Congressional District — the site of the most expensive U.S. House race of all time last year — four first-time Democratic candidates are vying for the chance to challenge Republican U.S. Rep. Karen Handel of Roswell in November. Among the candidates in the district that covers parts of Cobb, DeKalb and Fulton counties are Kevin Abel, a South African native and businessman; former newscaster Bobby Kaple; and Lucy McBath, a gun control advocate with a national profile. The Democratic candidates have vowed to protect Obamacare, enact new gun control laws and rework vast portions of the GOP’s tax overhaul. Handel has quietly spent the past few months fundraising, and she kicked off May with a formidable war chest.

All 14 of Georgia’s U.S. House members are up for re-election this year, including Atlanta-area Reps. Drew Ferguson, Hank Johnson, John Lewis, Barry Loudermilk and David Scott. Despite considerable political enthusiasm on the left this year, national political analysts consider the prospect of a challenger flipping any of Georgia’s seats an uphill climb.

State Legislature

Primary elections for the Georgia General Assembly are more competitive than they’ve been in years.

There are 20 seats without an incumbent on the ballot, and all but one of them are currently occupied by Republicans. Democrats view these open seats as an opportunity to gain ground at the Capitol, where Republicans control nearly two-thirds of seats in the state House and Senate.

There are also more Democratic candidates than in the past. Democrats are running for 121 of 180 House seats, an increase from 82 races contested by Democrats in 2016. In the Senate, Democrats are fielding candidates in 36 of 56 contests.

Several incumbent legislators face tough intraparty primary contests.

Among Republicans, state Rep. Betty Price is opposed by former Roswell Mayor Jere Price for a north Fulton County district. In northeast Georgia, Republican leaders including Deal and House Speaker David Ralston are supporting Mickey Cummings, a farmers market manager who’s trying to unseat state Rep. Matt Gurtler.

On the Democratic side, Senate Minority Leader Steve Henson is fending off a challenge from Sabrina McKenzie, a dancing preacher and former reality TV star, in a race for a Tucker-area district.

Public Service Commission

Two Public Service Commission members are up for re-election this primary season, with three races scheduled for May 22. The races will feature six candidates — five Democrats and two Republicans.

Chuck Eaton, a Republican, has been representing District 3 since 2006 and is running unopposed this primary season. On the Democratic side, the candidates are businesswoman Lindy Miller, former state lawmaker John Noel and Johnny White, an information technology professional.

In the District 5 race, both political parties have contested primaries.

Republican incumbent Tricia Pridemore, who was appointed to the commission by the governor in February, is facing opposition from fellow Republican John Hitchins.

In the Democratic race, former state legislator Doug Stoner is on the ballot against Dawn Randolph, who runs a small business.

Construction of two additional nuclear reactors at Plant Vogtle and the need to diversify energy sources in the state continue to dominate campaign circles and debates ahead of the primaries.

Atlanta Journal-Constitution writers Mark Niesse, Maya T. Prabhu, Greg Bluestein, Tamar Hallerman, Anastaciah Ondieki, James Salzer and Ty Tagami contributed to this article.

Investigations underway in GA into suspected homegrown violent extremists

A ranking FBI agent revealed to Channel 2 investigative reporter Mark Winne that the Joint Terrorism Task Force in Georgia has at least a dozen investigations underway into suspected homegrown violent extremists. 

“There have been a number of instances where we have followed a threat very, very closely and mitigated that threat,” FBI Special Agent in Charge David LeValley said.

“A real threat? Something that turned out to be a real threat? Something that could’ve hurt people?” Winne asked.

“Exactly,” LeValley said.

FBI Atlanta Assistant Special Agent in Charge Ricardo Grave de Peralta says he used to fight terrorism as a Navy SEAL, but now a big part of his job is seeing that terrorists, domestic or international, can't seal the deal on terror plots in Georgia.

Grave de Peralta is a supervisor over the FBI-led Joint Terrorism Task Force, or JTTF, in Georgia.

He says the unknown is the greatest tension in the task force's investigations.

“Doing a terrorism investigation is like doing a puzzle, a 1000-piece puzzle,” he said.

Channel 2 Investigates:

Doctor who made music videos in operating room facing several malpractice lawsuits Synthetic weed smokers, beware: CDC says new ingredient could kill you Georgia school lockdown drills triple after Florida school shooting Grave de Peralta says he was there in 2012 when agents arrested Randy Wilson Jr., of Mobile, Alabama, as he tried to fly overseas, ultimately to wage violent jihad. “He was boarding a plane on the jetway,” Grave de Peralta said. He says co-defendant Mohammad Abukhdair boarded a bus in Atlanta and was arrested in Augusta on his way to Canada, where he planned to take a flight, because he was on a no-fly list in the U.S. FBI supervisor Ashley Johnson heads a multiagency unit that acts as the JTTF's arm at the Atlanta airport and helps with situations involving the no-fly list. “Oftentimes we’ll get notified if there’s a no-fly subject or if there’s a known suspected terrorist who’s attempting to fly or he’s being downgraded and allowed to fly, maybe to support an investigation or gain information,” she said. “Is that something that happens say, pretty much every month?” Winne asked. “Yes,” Johnson said. Johnson’s unit investigates any potential federal case at the airport, but says the unit's main objective is to root out any terrorist nexus. LeValley said his team is working around the clock to protect Georgians. “The pressure can be tremendous, depending on the flood of tips and cases that we happen to be working at any given time,” LeValley said. An inside look at the investigation into a bomb plot in north Georgia, and the concern over ISIS attempts to recruit here in Georgia, including one age group of particular concern, Tuesday on Channel 2 Action News at 6 p.m.

GDOT implements new policies in light of bridge collapse investigation

Channel 2 Action News has obtained a copy of the new storage policy in place, weeks after a federal investigation into the Interstate 85 bridge collapse placed partial blame on the Georgia Department of Transportation.

The Outdoor Storage Policy for Flammable and Combustible Material was released to the agency in late April. On Monday, a GDOT spokeswoman told Channel 2 Investigative Reporter Nicole Carr the plan was formalized as policy, and included input from the State Fire Marshal’s Office. 

While GDOT committed to removing combustible material from beneath bridges before the investigative findings were released, this policy goes a step further in identifying regulations for permanent storage sites.

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Security measures include six foot fencing, a mandatory alert system to local fire departments describing exactly what will be stored and where, and guidelines for how stored material can be stacked against other materials and vegetation.

>> You can read the entire policy here .

“I mean I think it’s smart,” said Jeneveri Curtis, a business owner along Piedmont Road, whose salon is located directly across from the bridge collapse site. “I think those types of things should be regulated because if it was regulated, maybe the collapse wouldn’t have happened.”

Last month, an NTSB report made note of Basil Eleby, a homeless man charged with setting the fire that spread to combustible material stored beneath the bridge.

Eleby’s charges were eventually dismissed pending the successful completion of a drug rehabilitation program, but the investigation highlighted GDOT’s failure to assess the risk of the combustible material.

“It was like a domino effect, you know,” said Dior Golden, a customer of a nearby business. “The bridge went down and the city just went in chaos.”

Golden said he was glad to learn of the agency’s new policy.

"I guess we are in a time now where people have to take accountability for the things that they’re doing wrong, so this is just one step in that direction,” he said.

A discussion on relocating HERO units is ongoing, but no decision has been made on where to send them.

The incident response units, which deal with highway accidents and debris, are also stored under a portion of the bridge along Plasters Avenue NE. The state fire marshal determined the facility met safety standards, but GDOT confirmed its intent to look for an alternate storage facility last month.

Decatur says it won't detain illegal immigrants without warrant

Decatur city leaders are pushing back after the Georgia Immigration Enforcement Review Board said Saturday that the town probably violated state law when it said it would not detain illegal immigrants without a judicial warrant.

If the board follows through on its proposed recommendation, Decatur could lose millions in state funding.

“I won’t say I was totally surprised by what the decision was,” said Decatur Mayor Patti Garrett, “I was extremely surprised by the timing.  That was surprising and disappointing to me that we were notified on a Saturday three days before a gubernatorial primary.”

The initial complaint against Decatur was filed last year by Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle, who is running for governor.

Cagle is campaigning across Georgia, but in a statement, he said, “While other states such as California actively promote sanctuary cities, today’s decision shows that the state of Georgia will not tolerate these illegal policies.”

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Both Mayor Garrett and Police Chief Mike Booker insist Decatur is not a sanctuary city.

“There are so many definitions of what a sanctuary city is, but we are not harboring fugitives,” Booker said.  “We’re not hiding people that may or may not be illegal.”

Chief Booker said his officers will cooperate with federal immigration agents if they hold a judicial warrant, meaning a criminal warrant signed by a judge.

But, Booker said, his officers will not help enforce so-called Immigration and Customs Enforcement detainers, meaning requests to hold an alleged illegal immigrant.

He feels enforcing such a request violates the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution and makes the city liable if the detainer is wrong.

“We are not a sanctuary city,” said Mayor Garrett. “We have not adopted sanctuary city policies, but we do have a police force that we think upholds the Constitution of the United States and the Fourth Amendment.”

Decatur has also sued the Georgia Immigration Enforcement Review Board, alleging it violated the state’s open records and open meetings laws.

The board’s decision Saturday is only a proposed opinion.  It could make that recommendation official at its June 27 hearing.

Decatur says it won't detain illegal immigrants without warrant

Decatur city leaders are pushing back after the Georgia Immigration Enforcement Review Board said Saturday that the town probably violated state law when it said it would not detain illegal immigrants without a judicial warrant.

If the board follows through on its proposed recommendation, Decatur could lose millions in state funding.

“I won’t say I was totally surprised by what the decision was,” said Decatur Mayor Patti Garrett, “I was extremely surprised by the timing.  That was surprising and disappointing to me that we were notified on a Saturday three days before a gubernatorial primary.”

The initial complaint against Decatur was filed last year by Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle, who is running for governor.

Cagle is campaigning across Georgia, but in a statement, he said, “While other states such as California actively promote sanctuary cities, today’s decision shows that the state of Georgia will not tolerate these illegal policies.”

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Doctor who made music videos in operating room facing several malpractice suits Shots fired in elementary school parking lot Family identifies teen in fatal shooting in NW Atlanta

Both Mayor Garrett and Police Chief Mike Booker insist Decatur is not a sanctuary city.

“There are so many definitions of what a sanctuary city is, but we are not harboring fugitives,” Booker said.  “We’re not hiding people that may or may not be illegal.”

Chief Booker said his officers will cooperate with federal immigration agents if they hold a judicial warrant, meaning a criminal warrant signed by a judge.

But, Booker said, his officers will not help enforce so-called Immigration and Customs Enforcement detainers, meaning requests to hold an alleged illegal immigrant.

He feels enforcing such a request violates the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution and makes the city liable if the detainer is wrong.

“We are not a sanctuary city,” said Mayor Garrett. “We have not adopted sanctuary city policies, but we do have a police force that we think upholds the Constitution of the United States and the Fourth Amendment.”

Decatur has also sued the Georgia Immigration Enforcement Review Board, alleging it violated the state’s open records and open meetings laws.

The board’s decision Saturday is only a proposed opinion.  It could make that recommendation official at its June 27 hearing.

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