South Fulton Sued for Corruption, Intimidation and Retaliation

Lawsuit outlines how city officials attacked whistleblowers to hide disgraced SFPD lieutenant’s misconduct

The City of South Fulton and the South Fulton Police Department (SFPD) are in the spotlight again today as attorneys for two whistleblowers filed a federal lawsuit detail a disturbing pattern of intimidation, retaliation and corruption at City Hall implicating high-ranking officials including City Manager Tammi Saddler-Jones, Police Chief Keith Meadows and District 3 Councilwoman Helen Willis.

The lawsuit, filed by the city’s former Human Relations Director Tanesha Graham and highly decorated former SFPD Homicide Detective Joseph King, follows bombshell charges filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) back in October which centered around officials’ repeated attempts to cover up serious misconduct by Lt. Shannon McKesey, former head of the SFPD’s Narcotics Task Force.

Graham and King are represented by Artur Davis (HKM Employment Attorneys) and Arnold Lizana (Law Offices of Arnold J Lizana III).

“South Fulton chose to protect corruption rather than punish it,” Davis explained. “This lawsuit is a reminder that the failure to protect whistleblowers is wrong morally and legally.”

According to the lawsuit, the harassment and intimidation began when Graham launched an investigation into McKesey’s misconduct including reports of her using racial slurs, sexual misconduct, drinking alcohol while on duty and mishandling money collected during drug investigations. Though she was repeatedly threatened by Saddler-Jones, Chief Meadows and Councilwoman Willis, Graham continued to push for an independent investigation into McKesey’s conduct.

King, whose 100 percent arrest rate in homicide cases led to his being named the department’s Detective of the Year in 2020 and Fulton County’s Detective of the Year in 2022, fell into officials’ crosshairs after he cooperated with investigators from the Smyrna Police Department. Both Chief Meadows and McKesey continued to harass King even after he left SFPD in August.

McKesey was allowed to resign from SFPD rather than be terminated following the Smyrna Police Department’s investigation. She is currently the subject of a Georgia Bureau of Investigations (GBI) investigation.

“At the end of the day, these officials were going to do everything they could to protect Lt. Kesey and hide her misconduct no matter who they hurt,” Lizana said. “We can’t let them get away with that because, if we do, then none of us are safe.”

Click HERE to view the lawsuit.

Click HERE for a copy of the EEOC charges

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