Second testimony at Ross hearing focuses on separate arrest

Rick Ross and DJ Khaled exit the Fayette County Court House for a lunch break Friday, March 24. (Christopher Fairchild)

Rick Ross and DJ Khaled exit the Fayette County Court House for a lunch break Friday, March 24. (Christopher Fairchild)

Read Part I and Part II of Rick Ross’s pretrial hearing coverage before reading Part III.

 

Part III

On June 10, 2015, three days after the incident occurred at Ross’s estate and two weeks before Ross and James were arrested for it, Tommy Grier was sitting in his patrol car on Hwy. 279 near Dix Lee On Drive. According to Grier’s arrest report, Ross was traveling southbound on Hwy. 279 in a Bentley with a female in the passenger seat, and Grier started follow the Bentley towards Hwy. 314.

Grier had the second of two testimonies Friday at the Fayette County Court House, and McCutcheon was the first to address Grier as he recounted arresting Ross for possession of marijuana.

Grier, who was promoted to Corporal on Friday, explained that in his nearly 20 years of work in law enforcement, he’d dealt with thousands of arrests involving possession of marijuana, a majority of which occurred during his time working for the Fulton County Police Department for the Crime Suppression Unit.

From the witness stand, Grier said he originally pulled Ross over at 1:35 p.m. because he believed Ross’s windows were tinted darker than the legal limit in the state of Georgia, which is 32 percent give or take 3 percent. After testing Ross’s rear window, Grier said the tint was 15 percent, which was illegally dark.

However, it wasn’t the window tint — nor was it was opened CVS Pharmacy bag of six rolled marijuana joints on the passenger seat floorboard — that made the first of two Ross arrests that month relevant to the June 7 incident.

Grier asked Ross if he wanted to call someone to pick up the vehicle, and, according to Grier, Ross responded, “(Expletive) you, Grier. You don’t love me.”

Grier performed a search of the car after Ross was uncooperative, and that’s when he said he found a gun with 16 rounds in the magazine and one in the chamber. There was blood on the gun. While Grier didn’t know the details of the incident that occurred on June 7, he knew that something had taken place at Ross’s estate, so he submitted the gun to evidence, according to his account of the day’s events.

Since it was nearly two years ago, Grier said he couldn’t remember all the details. When Sadow asked why Grier didn’t turn on his dashboard camera that day or why Grier was using a cell phone to call someone with Ross waiting in the cop car, Grier didn’t have an explanation.

While McCutcheon had challenged Mittelstadt during his testimony to find inconsistencies in his story, Sadow took on the role of the aggressor during Grier’s testimony. Using dashboard camera footage from another officer’s vehicle, Sadow searched for answers.

Sadow tasked Grier with describing the action taking place as multiple officers convened, while Ross waited with two handcuffs restraining him in the back seat of Grier’s patrol car. McCutcheon continued to raise objections to Judge Sams, citing irrelevancy as Sadow tried to find inconsistencies in the arrest report.

Sadow fired back, stating that one important fact was left out from the report.

“Not one word in your report of blood on a gun,” Sadow said, raising his voice to a level that drew a warning from Judge Sams.

After defending himself against Sadow’s questioning, Grier left the witness stand.

As the hearing dragged into late afternoon, the four-time Grammy-nominated rap star stayed focused and alert, occasionally taking notes on his yellow notepad and exchanging whispers with his attorneys. He didn’t show any visible signs of fatigue despite being out at an Atlanta strip club until 1 a.m. the night before while filming a music video for a song on his new album, according to a TMZ report.

Nonetheless, Ross was mostly silent in court. Throughout the entire hearing, he only uttered two words to Judge Sams. One of the issues that needed to be discussed was whether Sams was going to allow Ross to travel internationally, a privilege given to him by the previous judge hearing the case, Tommy Hankinson.

McKinnon requested that Ross travel internationally, and Sams approved the request on the condition that Ross not speak negatively of the case, especially of the opposition, in videos online as he had done in the past.

“Yes sir,” Ross said.

The hearing is scheduled to begin again Tuesday, April 4 at 9 a.m. and continue throughout that week.

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About

Justin Fedich is a reporter for the Fayette County News. He has been a reporter for various papers around the Southeast, including the Athens Banner-Herald and the Selma Times-Journal. Justin is a graduate of the University of Georgia with a degree in digital and broadcast journalism and a sports media certificate.


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