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Former Georgia sheriff's deputy caught bragging about beating a Black man, calling it "sweet stress relief"

A former Georgia Deputy has pleaded guilty to possessing unregistered firearms after the FBI launched an investigation into an extremist group. FBI agents discovered 28-year-old Cody Richard Griggers wrote in a group text that he manufactured and acquired illegal firearms and also expressed views that were consistent with racially motivated violent extremism. 

Members in the group text, who called themselves "Shadow Moses" or "Shadmo," texted about militia-type prepping, including lengthy discussions of weapons, combat gear and survivalist techniques, according to court documents. 

In the group text, Griggers used racial and homophobic slurs and made frequent positive references to the Nazi Holocaust, the documents show.

Griggers, who was a deputy with the Wilkinson County Sheriff's Office, also described using excessive force on a theft suspect. "Oh, got wrapped up in my AR and forgot to tell y'all that I beat the shit out of a n***** Saturday," he wrote. He said after the suspect tried to steal from a local gun store, he beat him. 

He described the beating as "sweet stress relief." 

Griggers also stated that he intended to charge Black people with felonies in order to keep them from voting: "It's a sign of beautiful things to come. Also I'm going to charge them with whatever felonies I can to take away their ability to vote."

The former deputy also spoke extensively about making suppressors and fully automatic weapons as well as about a theoretical civil war and killing liberal politicians. He said he would use his position in law enforcement to see if his department would be "siding with the enemy or not," and to get firearms. 

"I want to get [law enforcement] only stuff like flashbangs and entry charges and say I used them in training when I pocketed them," Griggers said. 

"Yeah I'll pay big money for bang [and] boom," wrote one of the group members, Grey Zamudio, a member of a California-based online group called Defend East County, according to the documents. "I'm ready to terrorize."

The group chat was found after the FBI had received warrants to search a cellphone belonging to Zamudio, who was the subject of an FBI San Diego investigation. Zamudio had written several Facebook, posts stating: "The only good liberal is a dead liberal," "I'm ready to die, I welcome Valhalla," and "It's up to vigilantie militia to crush the liberal terrorists [sic]." 

He also posted several videos of guns that FBI San Diego verified were not registered to him. 

Zamudio was in regular contact was Griggers and the other individuals in the "Shadow Moses" group chat found on his phone, which was searched in August 2020. 

Agents searched Griggers' residence in November 2020 and also searched his Wilkinson County Sheriff's Office duty vehicle, where they found multiple firearms, including a machine gun with an obliterated serial number that was not issued to Griggers. 

He was not allowed to have the weapon in his law enforcement car. Agents found 11 illegal firearms overall, including a short barrel shotgun at his home.

The case was investigated by the FBI, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives and the Wilkinson County Sheriff's Office.

"This former law enforcement officer knew that he was breaking the law when he chose to possess a cache of unregistered weapons, silencers and a machine gun, keeping many of them in his duty vehicle," Acting U.S. Attorney Peter D. Leary said in a statement. "Coupled with his violent racially motivated extreme statements, the defendant has lost the privilege permanently of wearing the blue." 

"All law enforcement officers swear an oath to uphold the law and protect each and every citizen they serve," Chris Hacker, Special Agent in Charge of FBI Atlanta said in a statement. "Griggers clearly violated his oath with his egregious actions and has no place in law enforcement."   

Griggers faces a maximum 10 years in to be followed by three years of supervised release. He also faces a a maximum fine of $250,000. His sentencing is scheduled for July 6, and since there is no parole in the federal system he was detained at his pretrial hearing and remains in custody.

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