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Ga. Police, Investigators Discuss unauthorized Background Checks On Reporters, Political Candidates

ATLANTA (AP) - DeKalb County's police chief and the head of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation met Thursday to discuss plans to investigate whether DeKalb police made unauthorized background checks of news reporters and political candidates.

The meeting was the first step in determining who used police computers to make unauthorized checks for driver's license information, criminal warrants and parole and probation information.

The investigating agent will come from the GBI's Conyers office, said GBI spokesman John Bankhead. He said there is no time frame for the investigation.

DeKalb police Chief Eddie Moody requested the GBI probe Wednesday on behalf of DeKalb Chief Executive Officer Vernon Jones, who called the checks "gutless and wrong."

The computerized checks were conducted earlier this year on state Rep. Teresa Greene-Johnson and Ron Marshall, who ran unsuccessfully for CEO against Jones in the July 20 Democratic primary; County Commissioner Elaine Boyer, a frequent critic of the CEO, and two Atlanta Journal-Constitution reporters who have covered DeKalb government.

Marshall, Greene-Johnson and Boyer said they believe Jones was behind the checks in an attempt to dig up dirt on them. Jones said he had nothing to do with it.

DeKalb police will continue an internal investigation.

Clarkston police also are investigating a background check on Marshall that occurred July 9. There had been an earlier check on Marshall from a DeKalb police computer terminal on June 26.

Copyright Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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