The Statham police chief, Allan Johnston, resigned his position Sunday, Dec. 1.

Johnston, who has been chief since 2014, has been under fire from citizens for nearly three years.

Before being named chief, Johnston was a lieutenant for the Statham Police Department, where he worked for eight years.

His three-paragraph letter of resignation does not say he has taken another job. Johnston's last day will be Sunday, Dec. 15, he said.

He asked that his regular payroll check and a check for 96 vacation hours be ready for him to pick up Monday, Dec. 16.

He said he will train John Wood, the assistant police chief, as the interim chief between now and his last day.

Johnston said Monday he was “taking some time off. I’m taking some time and deciding what I want to do.”

He said he also worked for the Jackson County and Athens-Clarke sheriff’s offices. He said he had been in law enforcement for 32 years.

The criticism of Johnston became near-constant after a series of arrests by then-officer Marc Lofton in 2015 and 2016.

Statham faced, and still faces, multiple federal lawsuits over those arrests, most of which involved driving under the influence-less safe charges.

Johnston and Mayor Robert Bridges made multiple statements supporting Lofton and defending the charges he made. Bridges did not seek re-election to his office.

Lofton made 63 arrests for DUI in a 10-month period in 2015. Of those, 58 involved DUI-less safe charges. He left the police department in July 2017.

A majority of those charges were dismissed by the district attorney.

The city’s insurance carrier has settled multiple lawsuits in the past year and has paid out more than $330,000.

Another five or six federal lawsuits are active in the Gainesville courts.

A new city government with a new mayor and two new council members will take office in January.


(4) comments

Mauricio Eberhard

Tim Jackson said he hopes Chief Johnston’s departure will bring about positive change in the community since the Chief defended the actions of his Officer Lofton when questioned three years ago. check here

“There’s a lot of bogus stuff going on here,” Jackson said.

BH Hugenberg

No honor.

BH Hugenberg

The Lofton victims and supporters had been begging since 2015 for a fair unbiased investigation into what the Statham cops were allegedly doing. From BC Sheriff Jud Smith, DA Brad Smith, disgraced chief Johnston, Governor Deal, attorney general Carr, and Statham city officials lead by Bridges and Barton. Some offered excuses for why they could not assist; others CHOSE to look the other way. But as the truth has emerged, this sad situation could be a case study in how innocent citizens can get railroaded by nasty police work and a tainted judicial system. A lot of elected officials have some explaining to do. Do not forget that two women are DEAD here!

BH Hugenberg

Perhaps given Judge Story's findings re ex-cop Marc Lofton's UNLAWFUL law enforcement conduct, the Barrow County DA's office will be compelled to investigate ALL of Lofton's arrest documents and film footage. If criminal charges are applicable to what Lofton did under color of law, the DA's office should be compelled to take action against Lofton, with at least the same vigor the DA's office used against the Lofton victims. Fair is fair. If DA Brad Smith cannot oblige, perhaps he can get out of the way to permit an associate to do the job.

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