By Blake Pittman & Len Robbins
Editor & Publisher
A Homerville police officer has accused Homerville City Council members and its city manager of interfering with investigations, violations of the Equal Pay Act, and other unethical, or possibly criminal, actions.
Homerville Police Captain Sebrina Blaise details her complaints and concerns in a nine-page memorandum she sent last week to Homerville Police Chief Mack Drury, city council members, Clinch County Sheriff Stephen Tinsley, and GBI and FBI officials.
“My oath as a certified law enforcement officer in the State of Georgia requires me to report violations of law to my direct supervisor or any other entity that could investigate such violations,” Blaise wrote in the memo.
Among the claims in the memo:
• City Council members and City Manager Wallace Mincey have interfered in police investigations.
Blaise states that Mincey threatened to terminate her employment if she requested assistance from the GBI in the criminal investigation of a former HPD officer, Derrek Manning. She said that Manning was investigating “certain members of the community who received Paycheck Protection Program loans despite not having a business.” Manning was later dismissed by the police chief, then reinstated on appeal by the city council. After he was reinstated, Blaise said “he discontinued his investigations into the questionable PPP loans received by City Council members.”
According to the list of PPP loans received by Clinch County businesses (found online at www.federalpay.org/paycheck-protection-program), only one city council member, Jamayla Morehead, is listed. She received PPP loans of $12,867 in both 2020 and 2021 for a “management consulting” business.
Blaise also claims Mincey has refused to release drug distribution funds to her even though she says he has no authority over the use of the funds.
“In multiple instances, city council members and Manager Mincey have attempted to use their positions to intimidate or coerce law enforcement officers to dismiss charges, influence witnesses, procure favors, or extort special treatment for themselves as though they, or their associates, are not subject to the same laws as the rest of us.”
• The city manager and city council members ignored illegal activities at a recent Juneteenth celebration.
In the memo, Blaise said Chief Drury was told not to patrol the event by Mincey.
“I can now only assume he was attempting to keep law enforcement away to prevent us from realizing local government officials approved a celebration in which alcohol was being sold illegally,” Blaise stated, claiming vendors were selling alcohol at the event without proper local or state permitting, and were reportedly selling to minors. She said Mincey and several city council members were at the event, and that a vendor had asked specifically about needing additional licenses or permits to sell alcohol at the event, and was told that no permits were required.
• Revenues from fines collected online are supposed to, by law, fund law enforement or safety initiatives, and those funds are not accounted for, currently. Blaise said Mincey tasked himself with investigating where those funds are, rather than calling the GBI to investigate. Blaise also questioned Mincey’s use of the police evidence room.
• Blaise claims it’s a violation of the Equal Pay Act that she was not given a pay increase when promoted to captain. She also claimed Mincey refused to pay for training expenses for her, but did for other police officers, which is against city policy.
The News asked Mincey and city council members if they would like to comment or respond to the memorandum, and received no reply.
The City of Homerville, though, posted a statement on its Facebook page Monday concerning the memo. The statement read: ” The City of Homerville is in receipt of a memorandum of concerns (the “Memorandum”) addressed to the Chief of the Homerville Police Department (“HPD”) from an officer of the HPD. Before the City had the opportunity to conduct a full investigation, the Memorandum was posted on social media by a private citizen. The Memorandum contains allegations and opinions that appear to be based mostly on hearsay, conjecture, and speculation, but will be investigated by the appropriate city official(s), and/or an outside, independent fact-finder, according to city policy to determine if there has been misconduct by anyone. If misconduct is found, it will be taken seriously and anyone who committed misconduct will be held accountable. One allegation of the Memorandum can be immediately addressed. The Memorandum alleges that the City of Homerville will not allow the HPD to provide mutual aid to the Clinch County Sheriffs Office. This is not true. The officials of the City of Homerville and Clinch County always do their best to cooperate to provide their citizens the highest and most efficient level of services as possible, including law enforcement. Of course, the HPD is separate and autonomous from the Clinch County Sheriff Office, and will remain as such, but when it comes to the safety and security of citizens of Homerville and Clinch County, mutual aid between the HPD and the Clinch County Sheriffs Office is welcomed and encouraged by the City of Homerville.”
In a letter to the editor in this week’s edition of The News, Clinch County Sheriff Stephen Tinsley said he has received the memo, contacted the FBI concerning it, and stated that “if any allegations involving criminal activity are corroborated or any crimes are uncovered, we will assist in the prosecution of all who are involved. We will follow the investigation wherever it leads, beyond the local governing bodies if needed, and leave no stone unturned. Corruption has no place in government.”
A copy of the full memorandum is posted below.