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Civil rights organizers, attorneys demand justice for Judge Glenda Hatchett in groping case

Civil rights organizers, attorneys demand justice for Judge Glenda Hatchett in groping case
Civil rights organizers, attorneys demand justice for Judge Glenda Hatchett in groping case 01:56

ATLANTA (WUPA) -- Civil rights advocates are speaking out on behalf of prominent former Judge Glenda Hatchett months after a sheriff allegedly groped her at a conference. They're demanding that Gov. Brian Kemp take action to hold him accountable.

"She was sexually assaulted and harassed, and there's been no justice so far," said Attorney CK Hoffler.

Attorneys and civil rights organizers standing in solidarity with Judge Glenda Hatchett, demanding Governor Brian Kemp suspend Bleckley County Sheriff Kris Coody months after he reportedly groped the former judge at a sheriff's conference.

"Governor Kemp, it's not 1860, and it's not 1960. It's 2022. So, it's time for you to suspend this sheriff," said Georgia NAACP President Gerald Griggs.

"Also outrageous and not acceptable are the different standards of accountability," said Avarita Hanson, an attorney.

Cobb County authorities charged Coody with sexual assault and later arrested him.

He was released on bond and has since publicly shared his regrets over the incident, but those regrets fall short of the outcome activists are demanding.

"The governor should have taken action and suspended him as he has done in other cases involving sheriffs across this state," said Attorney Mawuli Davis.

During the press conference, attorneys heard a statement read from the governor's office indicating, "because the incident was a misdemeanor and happened at an off-duty location, the accusation has not risen to the level of state law to take action."

A spokesperson for Kemp later released this statement to Atlanta Now's Valencia Jones:

"We have been closely monitoring progress of the charge against Sheriff Coody. Because the charge against him is a misdemeanor and the alleged underlying conduct of Sheriff Coody did not occur in the performance of his duties as Sheriff of Bleckley County, the final adjudication of the charge will necessarily inform any action by the governor. We will continue to follow this situation and understand that Sheriff Coody will stand trial soon."

Hatchett's advocates say no politics are involved in the demand for justice, but there are some concerns that might not be the case for Kemp.

"We've seen photographs with this governor with this sheriff, and so we're left wondering if this inaction is the result of some personal relationship," said Davis.

"As Black women, we will not only demand respect, we will be respected," said Kianna Lawson, the DeKalb Chapter President of the National Coalition of 100 Black Women.

"This little group is nothing in comparison with the 800 churches that we're gonna flood the Capitol with," said Reverend Dr. Gerald Durley, a former dean of Clark Atlanta University and a civil rights leader.

Hatchett has declined to speak publicly on the matter but says she's thankful for the support. Brown is standing by his prior statements, also demanding justice.

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