Former Flomaton Police Chiefs Pleads In Century Unauthorized Arrest Case

October 6, 2012

The former Flomaton police chief arrested on a felony kidnapping charge has pleaded no contest to a lesser charge for making an unauthorized arrest across the state line in Century.

Geoffrey Ashley McGraw, 30, entered the no contest plea Thursday to a misdemeanor battery charge. Friday, Judge Michael Allen withheld adjudication again McGraw, and ordered him to pay $625 in court costs and $1,500 in restitution to victim Ronald Adam Barrow.

Prosecutors did not offer a sentence recommendation Friday in Escambia County Circuit Court. Instead, the prosecution pointed out that as a chief law enforcement officer, it was a “serious violation”, according to Assistant State Attorney Greg Marcille. The sentence was left to the discretion of the court.

Escambia County (Ala.) District Attorney Steven Billy, Escambia County (Ala.) Sheriff Grover Smith and Escambia County (Ala.) Chief Deputy Mike Lambert appeared in the Pensacola courtroom Friday, testifying as character witnesses on behalf of McGraw.

McGraw’s arrest stemmed from a joint operation by the Florida 1st Judicial Circuit State Attorney’s Office and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.

FDLE obtained the warrant for McGraw’s arrest for an August 14, 2011, incident in which Barrow was arrested by McGraw at a home on Old Flomaton Road in Century — 0.177 miles from the Alabama state line. The FDLE said McGraw, without jurisdiction,took  Barrow into custody in Florida on an outstanding Escambia County (Ala.) failure to appear warrant in a misdemeanor case. Barrow was then transported back across the state line into Alabama.

McGraw was placed on leave by the Flomaton Town Council on February 27, 2012, and subsequently fired on March 12. Prior to being named the Flomaton police chief in January 2011, McGraw was a member of the 21st Judicial Drug Task Force.

McGraw will be able to retain his law enforcement certification under Alabama law.

Comments

28 Responses to “Former Flomaton Police Chiefs Pleads In Century Unauthorized Arrest Case”

  1. JCD on October 11th, 2012 1:49 pm

    Apparently Steve Billy and Grover Smith know something about Geoffs character. He made a mistake which he owned up to and paid the price that the judge felt was fair. Why take away his livelihood, his career over a mistake? I think people base their opinions on their feelings of him as a person and not the mistake that was made. If it had been you in his shoes what would you have done? i venture to say that you would have done the same thing. Geoff is a good guy and I for one am relieved for him and his family that this is over and he can continue to provide for his family. I just hope he (and others) can allow this to be in his past and not determine his future. Praying for you Geoff.

  2. whatever on October 8th, 2012 10:14 pm

    It seems like everybody is making excuses for him breaking the law. Of course he knew where the line finished and started come on now he was the main man in the police department. I cldnt get away with it so y shld he…it wasnt a mistake that he went to Florida. police take their job on praying on the less forturnate so I believe when they do get caught then they shld pay just like everybody else!!!!!

  3. Mattw on October 8th, 2012 6:21 am

    Kevin Enfinger,

    The term “criminal” literally means “Someone who commits a crime” … therefore yes, if you speed you are in fact a criminal. However, the American Justice System has placed special degrees if lawlessness that coincide to particular “crimes” that may occur. Crimes such as: murder, rape…etc, are Malum is se, or inherently wrong or evil in itself… while speeding, as you have mentioned, is considered Malum prohibitum, or wrong because society says it is. So yes, while speeding does makes you a criminal, you are only considered a criminal because society has made it a crime to do what you have assumably done… that is why you feel the term “criminal” doesn’t apply to you in this particular circumstance when in fact it does.

  4. David Huie Green on October 7th, 2012 11:48 pm

    REGARDING:
    “I’m also wondering what were the charges against this “criminal” that Mr. McGraw needed to arrest that made it so necessary to jeopardize a career in law enforcement to protect the public.”

    For background information as reported here, click on:

    From March 9:
    http://www.northescambia.com/2012/03/suspended-flomaton-police-chief-arrested-on-florida-kidnapping-charge

    From Feb 28:
    http://www.northescambia.com/2012/02/century-couple-details-allegations-against-flomaton-police-chief

    David trying to be helpful

  5. person in florida on October 7th, 2012 4:48 pm

    1st Mr.Mcgraw knew where the state was bc flomaton pd has an map in the courtroom on the wall,2nd Mr.Barrow was wanted for an fta out of brewton on mis.warrent,3rd Florida law was never noticefed about Mr.Mcgraw coming into Florida ,4th the charges were dropped when Mr.Barrow went to court on this…So i hope may clear up some ideas you may have

  6. LadyLiberty on October 7th, 2012 12:49 pm

    Just a question; do the current officers in Flomaton take the new officers down all the roads and show them where the state line & Town jurisdiction ends? I’m just wondering because most officers who are working and have worked for The Town of Flomaton don’t come from Flomaton. Maybe Mr. McGraw was never shown where the state line was, maybe the Town doesn’t put in teaching that would let each officer know where they are legally allowed to be. Also, does the Town of Flomaton ever work with Escambia County Florida to get criminals picked up? I’m just wondering because why else would Mr. McGraw have gone only 1000 feet into Florida to make an arrest? If this “criminial” that has been alluding arrest for many years has been living so close to the state line for apparently quite a while, either Mr. McGraw was never taught where the state lines were, (wouldn’t the Town of Flomaton be at fault?), he did know but Florida wouldn’t help, he never asked Florida to help, or Mr. McGraw did know the state line, didn’t ask Florida, and crossed the line anyway thinking he wouldn’t get in trouble. I’m also wondering what were the charges against this “criminal” that Mr. McGraw needed to arrest that made it so necessary to jeopardize a career in law enforcement to protect the public. Does anyone know if The Town of Flomaton trains these officers properly on issues like jurisdiction and the state line? What was the “criminal” that he arrested charged with?

  7. David Huie Green on October 7th, 2012 11:15 am

    Kevin,
    I might be a mass murderer but that wouldn’t make it right.
    Those who think it’s reasonable to break the law to stop law breakers seem to miss the point. You don’t stop crime by committing more crimes. What is more, the idea that the lawman should be allowed to kill those who commit misdemeanors is flawed thinking. Take your own example. From what you write you probably speed. Does it really seem reasonable to you for someone to commit a felony to punish you?

    David for reasonable action
    and obeying laws whenever possible

  8. kevin enfinger on October 7th, 2012 10:05 am

    DAVID HUIE

    so as if youve never broke the law? everyone makes mistakes. So if you drive down the road and you exceed the speed limit which a declare im sure you do at times, does that make you a criminal? People make mistakes. ive made my share but im doing great now do i want to be labeled as a crimina. i dont think so. Some should be labeled as criminals yes. I work i earn my money and i do whats right, im not a criminal.

  9. concerned 2 on October 6th, 2012 10:47 pm

    i think about it this way. anybody could have made this mistake nobody is perfect. magraw was from brewton and the line was so close… he really might not of known that it wasnt alabama it was old flomaton road… these people that sued just thought they were goin to get some big bucks! some things are better left alone… he was just doin his job trying to keep the criminals off the street. somebodys got to do it!

  10. 429SCJ on October 6th, 2012 5:52 pm

    Darius, the Cop and the crimminal are two different sides of the same coin.

    I think the best thing for the people to do is move on and to keep out of the way.
    Live and let live and above all don’t make stupid mistakes.

  11. David Huie Green on October 6th, 2012 5:51 pm

    If a person breaks the law, that person IS a criminal.

    Some crimes are worse than others, but we should recognize that simple fact.

  12. Darius on October 6th, 2012 3:30 pm

    This was not a small mistake, it was a well thought out act of ignoring the laws of Florida and Alabama to show the citizens that he was in charge. This thug clearly got away with a felony. A jury trial would have put him in prison.
    I guess being a cop has it’s perks.

  13. powerwomen on October 6th, 2012 1:28 pm

    I TELL YOU ONE THING, I BELEIVE STATE LINE SHOULD NOT MATTER WHEN IT COMES TO SOMEONE RUNNING FROM THE LAW. I AM ON McCRAWS SIDE PEOPLE THINK THEY CAN STAND OVER THE TRACKS AND LAUGH IN THE FACES OF LAW INFORCEMENT. GIVE THE MAN A BREAK YOU DO THE CRIME YOU PAY , KNOW MATTER HOW YOUR CAUGHT, I WOULD HAVE DONE THE SAME THING, AND I KNOW THAT ITS BEEN DONE BEFORE. I MEAN IT COULD BE LIKE THE OLD DAYS BRING THEM IN DEAD OR ALIVE. BACK THEN THEY WOULD BRING YOU IN DEAD. I MEAN REALLY.

  14. Rhino228 on October 6th, 2012 11:03 am

    What happened to” Acting in Good Faith” ? I have been on crime scenes with Officer McGraw, i.e. murders, meth labs,fugitive recovery,crisis negotiations,even a plane crash, he always presented himself professional, competent, and honest. People need to wake up, Officers put their life on the line everyday to serve and protect You ….. Yes You……

    God Speed !!

  15. PowerMan on October 6th, 2012 9:59 am

    I have driven through Flomaton atleast three times per week for many years. Never have I been pulled over by the police. For that matter, I haven’t been pulled over in probably 20 years (speeding) Period. If you are being pulled over frequently then as they say “where there is smoke there is probably fire”. I am sure there are “signs” that law enforcement are trained to notice for suspicious activity. Again, I have no issues with them pulling people over to check out those “signs” to keep drugs off the street, guns out of criminals hands, or drunks off the road, etc. If I had a “model citizen” living beside me I wouldn’t care who came to get them. I definitely wouldn’t be defending the criminal. Just like @bewildered said.

    And What happened to the days of “smoky and the bandit”? State lines should not interfere with law enforcement of adjoining departments within some guidelines such as serving papers and misdemeanor warrants, etc. Too much power for the criminal.

  16. charlie w. on October 6th, 2012 9:49 am

    McGraw will be able to retain his law enforcement certification under Alabama law.

    How in the world can a bunch of politicians let a law breaker retain his certification?
    The DA, the sheriff, and the top deputy showed their “good ole boy” side by defending this criminal. Mcgraw is lucky that he was not shot when he entered Florida and kidnapped a resident. He is above the law in alabama but not in Florida!

  17. mnon on October 6th, 2012 9:34 am

    @Jerry, so going across state line, entering a home without a warrant, arresting someones, and bringing them back across state line into another state to be jailed is not your idea of a bad cop I would like to know what your definition of a bad cop is. Same goes with everyone else who thinks McGraw is this fine upstanding pillar of the community.

  18. concerned on October 6th, 2012 9:23 am

    Smh..just a fine? Is it because he was law enfocement that they drop kidnapping? It doesn’t matter if he was 5 feet or 100 yards over the state line he broke the law and should have been punished for all of his crimes. If he wasn’t law enforcement would they have dropped it to a lesser charge?

  19. Jerry on October 6th, 2012 9:04 am

    Thanks to all who stood up for Chief McGraw. I know him well and know him to be a hard working, clean living family man. To those that want to come down on all law enforcement, it’s probably because you have had some sort of negative contact with the law and you feel so taken advantage of. Grow up and get over it. Are there some bad cops that need to get out of he profession ? Absolutely! But Mr. McGraw is not one of those. Hopefully he will not be so disillusioned by some of your absurd comments that he wants to get out of law enforcement. I guess what we are missing is that he was less than 100′ into Florida. Someone stated that the tracks are the state line. Does that mean the first track ,the middle track or the last track. No one seems to know. Continue to keep your head up Geoff and continue to seek God’s will for like, it will all be okay.

  20. bill smith on October 6th, 2012 8:55 am

    Smh..all he gets is a fine? Escambia county has ra corrupt law enforcement that keeps breaking the law and nothing happens tp them. If it were anyone else they’ll probably be sentenced to prison time. You can hide behind that badge forever. Say what you want but he should have received a harsher punishment.

  21. bewildered on October 6th, 2012 8:44 am

    Wow! I am on the other side of this coin and amazed that all comments are negative toward law enforcement. I live in such close proximity to the Florida State line and we have a “model citizen” residing nearby with his parents.. He has managed to elude Alabama law for years by playing this jumping game. Tell you what! I would not care about his constitutional rights if the devil himself would swoop down and haul him away!!!. It would be nice to be a able to leave some yard tools outside when I get a drink of water in the kitchen without worrying that everything is stolen by the time I go back to work. And “YES” I am aware that by law not even “Marshall Dillon” could go outside his territory and arrest an outlaw. Could this be one reason why “Outlaws” flourished????
    .

  22. sks on October 6th, 2012 8:19 am

    They should have stuck with the kidnapping charge

  23. not surprised on October 6th, 2012 8:12 am

    @powerman “broke a rule”!! how about broke the LAW! which are put in place to protect us. mcgraw pulled me over 5 times in 6 months for bogus reason to try and search my truck and never once issued me a ticket. and the more i talked to other people he did the same to them. there is more to being an officer than being top cop. i have never been arrested and it has been years sense my last ticket but just driving through flomaton after dark especially i always feel uneasy because you never know what will happen.

  24. PowerMan on October 6th, 2012 7:58 am

    I do not know Mr McGraw but to make him out to be a criminal is somewhat far fetched. Yes, he broke the rules about crossing the line for the arrest. Maybe all the law enforcement should be better trained in that area. With the Sheriff and DA backing him it sounds like it was a honest mistake. Everyone is forgetting the fact that he was still arresting someone with a warrant. He may have followed them across state lines, who knows?

    I for one am sick of criminals getting off because of technicalities. Seems to me Mr McGraw made a mistake and is paying for it. I bet his days of law enforcement are over. And to think that some criminal probably got away with their crime makes me sick. Good Luck Mr McGraw.

  25. well on October 6th, 2012 7:41 am

    Sorry Lady. Liberty gets trampled on in this country often. Like it or not the person was tried and sentenced within the guidelines of the law.

    Not a lot different than the murderers that walk or get off on lesser charges.

  26. not surprised on October 6th, 2012 7:39 am

    how can anyone be shocked that he got a slap on the wrist. anytime any law enforcement get arrested for something and either plead no contest or found guilty 95% of the time nothing happens. and they are allowed to move to another town and continue there out of line ways!

  27. mike on October 6th, 2012 7:39 am

    That’s actually not true. Go to Google maps and look at the state line. Pretty confusing.

  28. LadyLiberty on October 6th, 2012 5:14 am

    WoW!….what was Grover & Steve Billy thinking?…. Everyone, especially the Town’s police chief, that live in Flomaton know when you cross the tracks on Old Flomaton Road that you are in Florida. It’s obvious that Mr. McGraw thought he was above the law. Violating a person’s civil rights should NEVER be taken lightly–EVER! Now, some fine men have dirtied their hands with the likes of this guy…I’m just shaking my head…





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