Incarcerated behind politics
Policy & Issues May 19, 2013 By: Susan Hillman
Imagine leaving a friend’s house and getting in your car, and two people see you get in your car and decide to approach your vehicle. One approaches the driver’s side and the other one approaches the passenger side, each with beer bottles in their hand. Then the person by the driver’s side door goes to grab for your door handle, and tries to open the door with no words spoken. Would this make you feel like you needed to protect yourself? This happened to Michael Weaver, who did 21 months behind bars for pepper spraying a man, Travis Parson, who had a previous criminal record and was on felony probation. Additionally, Mr. Weaver is banished from Muscogee County, which is part of the Chattahoochee Judicial District.
Michael Weaver was coerced into accepting a guilty plea bargain or else face 20 years in prison, if a jury found him guilty. Which the prosecuting attorney was planning on using Mr. Weaver’s association with the National Alliance and the flyers Mr. Weaver use to distribute on illegal immigration, affirmative action, and media control against Mr. Weaver instead of the facts of the case. Basically, the Assistant District Attorney, Michael Craig, was planning on poisoning the jury with these fliers and Mr. Weaver’s association with the National Alliance, and the judge was going to allow this prejudicial evidence into a jury trial.
Mr. Weaver took the guilty plea and was given a ten-year-sentence, which was serve one year and do nine on probation. However, Mr. Weaver is the first person in Georgia to get an aggravated assault charge for pepper spraying a person. The so-called victims in this case: Travis Parson and Frank Bellamy. Both Parson and Bellamy were on felony probation. Parson was on felony probation for drug charges, providing false information to the police, and fleeing the police, and currently has an outstanding warrant for violation of probation at this time. Bellamy was on felony probation for robbery and other crimes. It has been said that Mr. Weaver was showing malice when he pepper sprayed Mr. Parson; however, if Mr. Weaver would have meant to show malice, he would have sprayed Mr. Bellamy, who was on the passenger side window. But Mr. Weaver only sprayed Mr. Parson, who was trying to open the driver side door.
When Mr. Weaver was originally charged, he was charged with a misdemeanor charge of simple battery, and Mr. Weaver made bond on that charge for $60.00. This case was brought to the DA’s office attention originally by Officer Cathy Bush, who went to the State Solicitor’s office to see Mr. Ben Richardson, who then took the case to the Columbus District Attorney, Julia Slater. Mr. Weaver went to court three times under the misdemeanor charge, and the charges were not resolved. The first time, the “victim” Mr. Parson did not show up for court because he was in jail for probation violation. The second time Mr. Weaver went to court on the misdemeanor charge, the arresting officer was not there. The third time, Mr. Weaver went to court, he was informed that his charge had been handed over to the DA’s office because they were considering upgrading the charge to a felony charge of aggravated assault. The assistant District Attorney of Muskogee County at the time, Don Kelly, moved the charge up to a felony—Aggravated Assault. Then Mr. Kelly got arrested for a DUI and assistant District Attorney Michael Craig took over Mr. Weaver’s case. Mr. Weaver went to prison for a year and is now currently on probation. Mr. Weaver is now appealing his case.
Mr. Weaver is appealing his case and banishment based on the fact that he is the first person in Georgia to get a felony aggravated assault for pepper spraying someone. However, there is a previous pepper spray case of Ms. Abril Wheeler, who got two misdemeanor charges for pepper spraying five people, including a 5-month-old child. Additionally, Mr. Weaver is appealing his case because he believes his prosecution is politically motivated. According to Michael Weaver, “Basically American citizens should not be penalized for espousing unpopular but truthful viewpoints. Shame on Assistant DA Michael Craig and former police detective Cathy Bush for maliciously going after an American citizen who exercises their beloved First Amendment rights in the People Republic of Columbus, Georgia. The Orwellian thought police are alive and well.”
Columbus Georgia occupies all of Muskogee County and is on the Alabama line. It is neatly divided into two party. The Northern suburbs and the Southern black majority part. This divide separates 2 Congressional Districts. District 2 in the Southern part is represented by Sanford Bishop (D-GA) one of our most liberal reps. District 3 in the Northern part is represented by Lynn Westmoreland (R-GA) one of our most conservative reps. It looks like local officials are living in a bubble. The only thing for sure is that pepper spray sales are down.
Norb Leahy, Dunwoody GA Tea Party Leader