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Bad hire for district attorney arrested

By Justin Boron

A former district attorney employee, whom the sheriff sponsored to receive law enforcement training, is being held at the Clayton County jail after the Georgia State Patrol picked him up for speeding and impersonating a public officer.

Larry Bussey, 56, an unsuccessful political opponent of former Sheriff Stanley Tuggle in 1996, had been working as District Attorney Jewel Scott's chief of staff for almost four months before Scott said she discovered he lied about being accredited as a peace officer by the Police Officers Standards and Training Council.

He also had been deputized by Sheriff Victor Hill.

Georgia State Patrol Officer Larry Schnall said Bussey was stopped Thursday morning by Officer Frank Mize for traveling 88 mph in a 55 mph zone on Interstate 75 near Charles W. Grant Parkway.

After being questioned about a badge on the passenger seat, Bussey told the officer he was the chief of staff for the district attorney, Schnall said.

Schnall also said after becoming suspicious, Mize checked with the district attorney's office, found Bussey had been fired, and arrested him.

A subsequent inventory of the car found several pieces of law enforcement identification including a Clayton County Sheriff's Office badge, a Fulton County Sheriff's Office badge, and a school police officer ID, he said.

Scott said when she took office in January, she was not made aware of any background problems with Bussey, whom she selected to be hired under previous District Attorney Bob Keller's administration as part of a transitional collaboration between the two.

"It would be incumbent on the prior administration to bring it to my attention," she said.

Scott said she asked for Bussey's resignation immediately upon finding the misrepresentation of his qualifications. Other background problems, which she would not specify, also contributed to the resignation request in March.

However, Bussey remained an employee more than a month after she asked him to quit.

For "humanitarian" reasons, Scott said she demoted Bussey from chief of staff to another location, which she also would not discuss, so he could have enough time to find another job.

Meanwhile, Hill said he sponsored the demoted employee to gain the necessary police training because Bussey indicated he could keep his job if he completed his standards and training courses.

Scott said she had no such agreement with Bussey.

"For the reasons he was terminated, I would never rehire," she said.

Hill also said he later withdrew his pledge when he became aware of Bussey's background problems.

After being completely terminated at the end of April, Scott said she asked for him to return all his badges and identification.

"Apparently, he kept some," she said.