Gwinnett DA Porter Won’t Press Charges In Bannister Phony DUI Case.

Here’s GBC’s take:

From the AJC:

Gwinnett County District Attorney Danny Porter said he won’t file criminal charges against any of the deputies because there is no reason to suspect that Bannister was the victim of entrapment. Porter said “the idea to consume alcohol and operate a vehicle did not come from a law enforcement agency.”

“The Chairman has to explain why he was drinking alcohol and driving a county car,” Porter said. “And the Sheriff has to explain why he expended so many resources on a DUI case. But that’s not my explanation to give.”

25 comments

  1. debbie0040 says:

    Chairman Bannister was still driving a county owned vehicle while not on county business and had consumed alcohol and operated the vehicle. The Deputy was over zealous in the performance of his duties. Both sides were at fault. Bannister should not have been arrested but he should not operate a county vehicle while drinking and not on county business. The abuse of county owned vehicles needs to stop.

    • From the Gwinnett Daily Post:

      The county chairman and administrator alone have unrestricted use of their county assigned vehicles

      He’s allowed to use the vehicle anytime he wants. Perhaps that should change but he wasn’t doing anything he’s not currently allowed to do.

    • macho says:

      I’m trying to figure out, with a 0.000 blood alcohol content, exactly what Bannister did that was irresponsible.

      • Steve says:

        No kidding. Sounds like the point of this statement is saving face and moving on. Whatever… if Bannister’s not going to raise hell than I’m not going to either, although it sure sounds like he got the short end here.

      • Lady Thinker says:

        The allegation is he was drinking beer while in possession of a county vehicle. The fact that the turned a 0.00 shows that the alcohol was no longer in his system when he drove, however, it appears he broke the rule of consuming alcohol while in possession of said vehicle.

        • Provocateur says:

          Bannister did not break a rule because the “rules” do not apply to the county commission chairman, but only county employees. He is an elected official and does not count as an “employee.”

          So, there is no “however”, no “but”, no nothing. Bannister was perfectly in his legal right to drive the county vehicle to the establishment in which he did, consume the alcohol he did over the time period in which he did, and that wraps that crap up.

          Is everything clear now?

  2. debbie0040 says:

    Then the policy needs to change. Just because it did not violate rules does not mean it was not irresponsible.

    • Provocateur says:

      Here’s an idea, Debbie: Next time, you run for county commission chair, and you can propose all the new rules you want to. 🙂

  3. MSBassSinger says:

    What did the final report on his blood alcohol level show? The last I heard, his blood alcohol level was 0.000.

    I am not sure “operate a county vehicle while drinking” has been established. “While” denotes present tense, and I do not remember any reports of an open container in the vehicle. “Drinking” would also denote a blood alcohol level somewhere above 0.000.

    I am wondering who in Gwinnett County government Bannister made mad to have this stuff pulled on him. I wonder if the deputy who arrested Bannister will ever spill the beans.

  4. debbie0040 says:

    It was established that he was drinking at a bar.

    “Bannister’s attorney, Alan Mullinax, said the chairman violated no county policies by driving his county vehicle after drinking two or three beers. The attorney said the report gives plenty of details about how his client was arrested”

    • MSBassSinger says:

      “It was established that he was drinking at a bar. ”

      And he had the sense not to drive until his bloood alcohol level was 0.000? Sounds like he is too smart and responsible to be working in government.

          • debbie0040 says:

            MS – How do you think the citizens of Gwinnett county would feel about the use of the county car while not on county business?

            Many are upset over the Gwinnett Braves stadium, over the dramatic increase of their property tax, over the trash plan, over land deals, etc. Many don’t have jobs and/ or are struggling just to keep up with their mortgages and bills. Many have lost their homes. They don’t like the whole idea of county owned vehicles except for public safety and they find out an official used a county car, that tax payers pay for, to go to a bar and then drink and then drive the vehicle home.

            both sides were at fault in this. As a tax payer, if I see a non-public safety vehicle at a bar at that t ime of night, you bet I would be furious.

            I would also wager that if a poll were taken in Gwinnett County that Sheriff Conway would have much higher approval ratings than Chairman Bannister..

            • Steve says:

              I am no fan of Bannister, for these reasons and many others (some of which are also being investigated by Porter). However, there was no “ambiguity” here… and no “both sides share in the blame”.

              (1) The location at issue is (I believe) within the jurisdiction of City of Lilburn Police, so the fact that the Sheriff was called directly instead and chose to get involved is fishy as hell.

              (2) Once Bannister blew a 0.000 on the scene, that should have been the end of it. The fact that he was still arrested and taken to jail is pretty scary.

              (3) The fact that elected officials can use county-owned cars is symbolically bad… but it’s a drop in the proverbial bucket, and total misdirection to shift the focus that way. The guy did nothing wrong or improper. This has all the appearances of being totally political.

              I’m not all that plugged in to the internal drama of my county’s government. But from the outside it looks like the three biggest power players are Bannister, Conway, and Porter… with Bannister being out of political alignment with the latter two.

              Yes Debbie, based on the number of candidates claiming his endorsement in primary-season robocalls… I would wager that Conway IS more highly-regarded than Bannister among voters these days. However, no matter how much I dislike a politician, it’s still scary to think about law enforcement being twisted against him in an improper way. This crap was straight out of “Dukes of Hazzard”, and I’d rather watch that on TV than live there.

              • macho says:

                Great points.

                It does scare the crap out of me to think that just because a guy might have higher approval ratings that he can use his police power to destroy those with lower approval ratings.

                Whether Bannister should receive a few thousand dollars more a year in direct pay or get free use of a car can be debated from a symbolic standpoint, but it really makes no difference to the County’s bottom line.

              • Doug Grammer says:

                Steve,

                I think you made some good points. Your second point is the most telling. If I were Com. Banister, I would consider suing, not for money, but for the firing of the arresting officer and whomever he talked to that night that told him to go ahead with the arrest.

            • MSBassSinger says:

              Debbie,

              The anger is misplaced. If you and other Gwinecians don’t want part of the compensation package for any County employees to include personal use of a county vehicle, then get your County Commissioners to make it so. Aren’t they the same servants of the people that imposed forced garbage collection on property owners that has to be paid in advance?

              I don’t know anything about Bannister, but I have a real problem with using the legal system to harass people who aren’t liked or to settle political scores.

      • Steve says:

        Nothing inaccurate, but pretty heavily slanted throughout. It glosses over the initial phone call… drops some unnecessary innuendo about Bannister having a drinking problem… goes out of its way to paint Conway (who “stars” in one of your “shows”) in a positive light… and the conclusion makes the whole story seem to be about Bannister abusing county property.

        This ain’t exactly up to BBC standards, ya’ll.

        If you guys are “still digging”, then who was the “concerned citizen” who made the call (I remember seeing the name in the AJC, so I know it’s been released)? Does he have any ties to any of Bannister’s political adversaries? Why did he call the county Sheriff’s department directly, when this was in the city of Lilburn? Why did the Sheriff’s department send four deputies to basically setup a stakeout and hang out at another table on-duty? Just possible things to dig into.

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