Mouths are tightly closed about Thursday's officer-involved shooting in Dade County. Both the Dade Sheriff's Office and the Georgia State Patrol refer inquiries to a Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) public relations director in Atlanta, whose voice mail message directs callers to email instead.
(Georgia State Patrol Trooper Joe Geddie from this year's Law Enforcement Appreciation Day, when he was chosen as Dade's top cop and honored by State Sen. Jeff Mullis.)
But what does seem clear at this point is that GSP Trooper Joe Geddie shot Anthony Vitier, 31, of Hendersonville, Tenn.,on Highway 136 West several times after the man pointed a gun at him, having fled initially from Geddie's attempted traffic stop. The chase ended at the old Bethune's Garden Center in a hairpin curve on Sand Mountain. The man survived.
Here's GBI's official press release:
On Thursday, September 6, 2018, the GBI was requested by the Georgia State Patrol to investigate an officer involved shooting. Preliminary information indicates that at approximately 4:00 p.m., Georgia State Patrol Trooper Joe Geddie was attempting to make a traffic stop of a vehicle driven by a subject identified as Brandon Anthony Vitier, 31, of Hendersonville, TN.
After a short chase at Hwy 136 West on Sand Mountain in Dade County, Vitier pointed a weapon out the window of his vehicle at Trooper Geddie. Trooper Geddie fired at Vitier striking him several times. Vitier was transported to Erlanger Hospital and is in stable, but critical condition. Trooper Geddie was not injured in this incident.
The investigation thus far has revealed that the weapon Vitier pointed at Trooper Geddie is a replica handgun.The GBI will continue its independent investigation. Once complete, it will be turned over to the Lookout Mountain Judicial Circuit for review.
Joe Geddie is a veteran trooper who only this year was chosen as Dade's top law enforcement officer in the county's May 1 Law Enforcement Appreciation Day ceremony--and that followed close on the heels of his receiving a similar honor from GSP as Trooper of the Year.
But Geddie was also named in excessive force lawsuits in 2017 and 2003. The 2017 lawsuit was thrown out recently in federal court in Rome. The 2003 suit, which stemmed from an incident when Geddie was a Dade sheriff's deputy, ended in a $285,000 settlement in 2009.
The Planet will publish the GBI's findings as the agency releases them.