Sheriff, attorney threaten reporter, demand retraction

Sheriff Jeff Johnson

Sheriff Jeff Johnson

DAWSONVILLE, Ga. — In complete disregard of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and in an effort to silence a news reporter, Sheriff Jeff Johnson and his attorney have demanded retraction of an editorial published by Fetch Your News last month regarding a deputy’s refusal to report to a single-vehicle accident on Nimblewill Gap for more than six hours.


On June 18, 2019, Joey Homans wrote: “I have been retained by Sheriff Jeff Johnson and Sgt. Larry Busher as a result of the libelous article you published on June 14, 2019 at Your effort to camouflage and cover your malicious, hateful and libelous obloquy by posting under the “opinion” designation fails.”


Joey Homans

Joey Homans

Homans is the former Dawson County Attorney. The Board of Commissioners declined to renew his contract in 2017. He subsequently sued the Board of Commissioners on behalf of Sheriff Johnson in a failed lawsuit that cost taxpayers thousands of dollars.

He concludes his attack on this reporter by stating: “Your article lacks actual, unvarnished truth and was published solely to damage Sheriff Johnson and Sgt. Busher. Therefore, on their behalf, I hereby demand that your June 14 publication be retracted within five (5) days of the date of this letter, that the retraction be clearly stated as such, that the retraction be published in the same manner that the libelous article was published and that no further publication or dissemination of the false statements set forth within your article occur.”

It has been three weeks since the threat was received and there has been no retraction. There will be no retraction. Not in five days, five weeks, five months or five years. What has failed is Sheriff Johnson’s attempt to ignore the First Amendment and frighten this reporter into writing a retraction.

Fetch Your News will have additional articles that focus on the Nimblewill fiasco, including Johnson’s false claim that the accident did not occur in Dawson County. Gilmer County officials are not pleased that Johnson attempted to scapegoat Gilmer County to cover up his sergeant’s failure to respond.


Fetch Your News is a hyper local news outlet that covers Dawson, Lumpkin, White, Fannin, Gilmer, Pickens, Union, Towns and Murray counties as well as Cherokee County in N.C. FYN attracts 300,000+ page views per month, 3.5 million impressions per month and approximately 15,000 viewers per week on and up to 60,000 Facebook page reach. If you would like to follow up-to-date local events in any of those counties, please visit us at






  1. Brandon July 8, 2019 at 8:12 am

    This article was linked on Facebook.

    I commented on that link that although I have no knowledge of the original reporting and no opinion of the lawsuit, that this article doesn’t achieve the most basic of journalistic standards as I learned them in a cursory high school Journalism class.

    My comment and the comments of others were apparently removed from Facebook and users were prevented from making further comments. Is there not a palpable irony in a reporter wrapping themselves in the First Amendment as they censor comments on their words and remove the rights of others to speak?

    That is not journalism, by any standard. The First Amendment is not a tool of convenience.

    • Bill Johnson July 8, 2019 at 9:47 am

      Please show me where I have deleted or blocked any comment and I will repost.

  2. Brandon July 8, 2019 at 8:22 am

    Gee, Bill! You’re busy deleting a lot of comments today! You don’t seem to understand what freedom of speech means!

    • Bill Johnson July 8, 2019 at 9:46 am

      Brandon thank you for reading Fetch Your News. Actually, I haven’t deleted a single comment. If you can show me where I have, I promise to repost it.

    • Amber July 9, 2019 at 1:05 pm

      Brandon, that is the admins on Focus on Dawson, not Bill. Good luck having any opinion on this matter. As soon as it is posted they block from commenting. Admins must be deep in the good ol boy system if not the Sheriff himself.

      • Bill Johnson July 10, 2019 at 12:01 pm

        Thank you for reading Fetch Your News Amber. Fetch Your News will not delete items from our website.

  3. Paul M. Spencer July 9, 2019 at 6:19 am

    There is not enough information here to post an opinion. Is there a link to the original article or a date of the incident so I can research further?

  4. PplRCrzy July 11, 2019 at 11:09 am

    Doesn’t this fall under fake news? It has a click bait caption. Making one think the so called reporter was physically threatened. It’s written as an incredibly whiny response to letters generally received by reporters. They usually do not give it a second thought, much less write another commentary disguised as an “article”.

    This NEWS should be under commentary. If anything an original article should be the news with ALL the facts set out. It makes me cringe at your so-called journalism with the comment not now, next week or ever. It sounds like a petulant child.

    Why would you write hearsay about Gilmer County “officials” not being pleased? What official? Remember the basics. Who? What? When? This reads as the rambling of a self proclaimed victim.

    Please write true news with real facts. Names, dates and all those pesky things. I do not know any of the people involved in this situation. I did not see the original commentary. I wanted to read local news. Not local gossip. You got a letter asking you to retract purported well founded facts? Why the need to do another commentary if your facts are legitimate? Complete additional investigation and write another true article.

    I am exhausted by the victim mentality that is rampant with younger people today. The news based on feelings is not appropriate. I do not know your age, but if I guessed I would think a new graduate at his first grown up job that got his hand smacked for the first time. Whatever your age this look does not suit you.

    With all the comments you are receiving from people who have no clue about the people in this commentary you would think it would give you pause. Maybe look in the mirror and set aside “feelings” and then delete this rambling.

    • Bill Johnson July 11, 2019 at 11:41 am

      Thank you for reading Fetch Your News. As you can see, we welcome readers’ comments even when they disagree with us.
      When an attorney writes a letter “demanding” a reporter retract an article within 5 days and tosses in the word “libel” it implies a lawsuit could follow. It is a clear indication that the lawyer and his client (Sheriff Jeff Johnson) does not understand nor respect the First Amendment. I do and I won’t be threatened. This will be my final comment. You are welcome to continuing arguing with yourself.

  5. Classically Liberal July 11, 2019 at 6:23 pm

    Seems like a lot of friends from the Sheriff’s Office are here in full force! The stupidity in the comments above is beyond ridiculous. ‍♂️

    • Bill Johnson July 12, 2019 at 8:01 am

      Thank you for reading Fetch Your News. We are very committed to supporting law enforcement. We enjoy writing the good news about these dedicated servants. We are also committed to keeping our readers informed.

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