A Clayton County police officer has been suspended without pay after cursing a woman and calling her the N-word because she was driving too slow.
Michele Griffith said she was driving down Highway 155 toward Locust Grove to pick up a pizza, when Thomas Sheats started bearing down “[He was] swerving from left to right, speeding up behind me,” said Griffith to 11 Alive. “I even swerved to the right to let him know he can pass but never took the opportunity.”
Griffith admits she was going slow, the result of having to pay one too many speeding tickets. But after both pulled into a shopping complex parking lot, witnesses said the situation got out of control.
Griffith said Sheats started to curse, used a racial slur and then spit on her.
Sheats was off duty and in his own car. Griffith had no idea he was an officer, until an internal investigator with Clayton County called her to get more information.
11Alive tried to contact Sheats to get his side of the story. He said due to the investigation, there was little he could say, but referred us to his attorney. He is currently on administrative leave without pay.
Keith Martin wouldn’t say exactly what his client said happened that day, only that there is more to the story. Martin said it was Griffith who egged on the fight, following Sheats first to the McDonald’s drive-thru, cursing and yelling her own racial slurs at him. Sheats’ attorney says the surveillance video should prove it.
McDonald’s wouldn’t show us the videotape, but both Henry County, where the incident occurred, and Clayton County, where Sheats works, have opened investigations.
Sheats was arrested two years ago for simple battery, robbery and interfering with a 911 call. Due to the July 4 holiday 11Alive was unable to determine the outcome of those charges, but Sheats said they were dropped.