Throat Slash or Reputation Trash?

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Throat Slash or Reputation Trash?

This week, the Metro Spirit obtained a copy of the video surveillance tape of an exchange between Columbia County Tag Office Clerk Diane Pittman Chiera and former Deputy Tax Commissioner Dwight Johnson.

Last week, Chiera filed an incident report with the Columbia County Sheriff’s Office claiming that Johnson entered the tag office, threatened her job and made a “slashing motion to his throat” after the threat.

But the surveillance video inside the tag office shows otherwise. Check it out at metrospirit.com.

In the video, Johnson is wearing a tan suit and can be seen in the upper right-hand corner of the screen. He then proceeds to the clerk in the bottom, left-hand side of the video.

The 21-minute video is, to say the least, very uneventful.

In fact, upon reviewing the tape, the Columbia County Sheriff’s Office has officially closed the case.

There is no visual proof of Johnson making any threatening motions. You can see him waving at employees as they pass by. No one appears alarmed, which would seem to be what would happen if an intense conversation was occurring between a current employee and someone who was fired from that office.

There is a man a few feet away who, besides glancing over his shoulder when Johnson first approaches, completely ignores him. Not what one would expect.

Chiera told deputies that Johnson said he knew the employees were writing statements about him to authorities and he reminded her that there was a good chance he would be over the tax commissioner’s office soon.

When Chiera asked Johnson what he meant by his statement, she told deputies that Johnson allegedly replied, “She is gone.”

Chiera stated that Johnson was referring to Allen as the tax commissioner, adding that Johnson then told her that when he got back into the office everyone who wrote statements about him were also “gone.”

While all of that sounds like a wonderful soap opera, the sheriff’s office found no evidence that any such conversation ever took place. There is no slashing motion to the throat. Everything looks absolutely normal.

So was this all much ado about nothing? Or was there something more sinister afoot?

Was this another attempt by Tax Commissioner Kay Allen and her staff to discredit Johnson?

After all, Johnson was the whistleblower behind the FBI’s investigation into accusations that Allen has been improperly profiting from contracts to collect taxes for Harlem and Grovetown to the tune of more than $150,000.

Obviously, Johnson is probably the last person Allen wants to see strolling into the tag office. But, then again, the staff may want to think twice before calling the sheriff’s office next time.

There is no doubt, Allen already has enough investigators circling the tax commissioner’s office and checking out her past actions. She doesn’t need anymore.