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Kirkland Carden, left, and Gwinnett County Sheriff Butch Conway

{child_flags:featured}Duluth councilman calls for condemnation of sheriff

{child_byline}By Isabel Hughes


Days after tempers ran high at a meeting about the Gwinnett County Jail’s 287(g) immigration program, Duluth City Councilman Kirkland Carden has filed a petition calling for the Gwinnett County Board of Commissioners to condemn Sheriff Butch Conway for inviting a “white nationalist and anti-immigration activist” to speak.

D.A. King, president of the Dustin Inman Society, which is labeled by the Southern Poverty Law Center as an anti-immigrant hate group, was one of three pro-287(g) speakers at Wednesday’s meeting. He was joined by Gwinnett County Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Deputy Shannon Volkodav and U.S. Immigration and Customs Southern Region Communications Director Bryan Cox.

On the anti-287(g) side, businesswoman Andrea Rivera, District 99 State Rep. Brenda Lopez Romero and local attorney Antonio Molina served as panelists.

The event, which was put on by District 4 Commissioner Marlene Fosque, was intended to foster a dialogue between the program’s supporters and opponents, the commissioner said. While it did that, at times, sparks flew between supporters and opponents.

Carden’s petition, which was published on on Wednesday, was created as several immigrant advocacy groups refused to participate in Wednesday’s meeting because King served as a panelist.

In the petition, Carden, a Democrat who is running for the District 1 commission seat, wrote the meeting was “hijacked by D.A. King.”

“King was elevated into this position as official ‘representative’ for the Gwinnett County Sheriff’s Office by Sheriff Butch Conway. The Republican Sheriff has avoided accountability on his policy positions for years and refuses to speak with the people whom he serves,” the petition reads. “If the Sheriff is too afraid to defend this policy, then he should either resign or choose a different course. King’s inciting and bigoted rhetoric should never have been given the legitimacy of this platform by Conway’s office, which is funded by taxpayers, in one of the most diverse counties in the nation.”

The petition continues to say that “while there are plenty of reasons to criticize” Conway, “this decision is intolerable.”

“We are demanding that the Gwinnett County Board of Commissioners pass a measure condemning Sheriff Conway for his actions, and begin investigating correspondence between his office, D.A. King, the Dustin Inman Society, and any other hate groups,” the petition said. “This calls into question the Sheriff Department’s ability to fairly pursue justice. As citizens who are supposedly protected and served by the Sheriff, we have the right to know why he selected King to represent his office.”

Carden told the Daily Post he started the petition, which, as of Friday afternoon had more than 170 signatures, because it is “unacceptable and intolerable that bigots, like D.A. King, continue to be elevated to positions of authority by Republican officials within our county’s government.”

“All people of conscience must stand up and condemn those who seek to divide us, including here in Gwinnett County,” he said. “We have a right to know why Conway’s handpicked representative is the leader of a hate group.”

The Gwinnett County Sheriff’s Office did not immediately respond to the Daily Post’s request for comment on the petition.

To view the petition in its entirety, visit

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Crime Reporter

Isabel is a crime and health reporter for the Gwinnett Daily Post. She graduated from Emory University in 2016 with a B.A. in international studies. She is originally from the Boston area.

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