The sheriff answered questions and explained the COVID-19 protocol after two commissioners requested the officials’ public response.
MACON, Ga. – On Tuesday, our previous story about the conditions in Bibb County Jail raised questions from some commissioners, a response from the sheriff, and a closed circuit discussion according to a commissioner.
Photos show over 20 inmates lying close together on the floor and not wearing masks.
Sheriff David Davis says the images are from one of two areas that require inmates to be quarantined for 10 days.
In response to our story about these photos, Commissioner Virgil Watkins asked questions to the sheriff at Tuesday’s session. However, Mayor Lester Miller stepped in and said those questions should be answered behind closed doors.
“We have a board meeting shortly. This point can be dealt with at the board meeting. I don’t think we need to talk about it now and get the sheriff into this situation,” Miller said.
“I have not understood or expressed why the questions I have asked should not be discussed in public,” said Commissioner Virgil Watkins Jr.
Commissioners Virgil Watkins and Al Tillman objected and urged the sheriff to answer questions publicly.
“Are you saying to respect the chair because we will learn details from the public views?” Tillman said to Mayor Miller.
“Commissioner Tillman, I say what I say. I don’t want to go into that, OK?” Miller said.
The sheriff answered questions and stated that the photos were taken in the area where inmates must be quarantined for at least 10 days before they can access the rest of the prison. Even after answering these questions, the prosecutor said it was appropriate to do this outside the public for the time being.
“I just think it’s more appropriate at this point to flesh out the rest in an executive session. You have good questions, but then we can intelligently determine what might be more appropriate to be shared at this point,” the prosecutor said Duke Groover. “It’s just a new development.”
The commission entered into an executive meeting with Sheriff Davis shortly after the comment. Spokesman Chris Floore, who did not attend the meeting, said district officials had told him the detention conditions had not been discussed.
However, Commissioner Al Tillman said it was short.
“Some of us have again raised problems with the photo and the safety not only of the inmates but also of the sheriff’s department. The sheriff assured us that he is taking all precautions to ensure the safety of the men and women who are there was the extent, “said Tillman.
The sheriff also claims the prison conditions were not discussed at the closed session. Several commissioners told us that the main topic of discussion was a possible lawsuit against the sheriff’s office, regardless of the detention conditions.
According to Floore, prosecutors reviewed all of the issues discussed in the closed session to ensure they were dealt with legally.
Of course, we cannot independently confirm what was discussed in the executive session because the press and the public are not allowed to listen.
According to the Georgia Open Meetings Law, governments cannot exclude the public from meetings unless the subject meets a short list of expectations, including potential, pending, or current lawsuits, property, or matters affecting employees.
By law, knowingly or willfully breaking the law is an offense that can result in a fine of no more than $ 1,000.00.