A look at local claims

Tyler Perry loves the Big A. A longtime resident, he has a studio in southwest Atlanta and is about to seal the deal on developing a much larger film and television studio at shuttered Fort McPherson.
Tyler Perry loves the Big A. A longtime resident, he has a studio in southwest Atlanta and is about to seal the deal on developing a much larger film and television studio at shuttered Fort McPherson.

The field of 2016 presidential candidates seems to grow by the day.

The fact that Georgia will play a central role in next year’s Republican primary was driven home in the recent state GOP convention in Athens. Democratic candidate and former First Lady Hillary Clinton is hosting a fundraiser May 28 for the first time in the Peach State.

 There will be plenty of time, and fodder, to check from those folks.  Lately, PolitiFact Georgia has shifted its focus to claims made on the local level – with varying results.

A SHERIFF, A SHOOTING AND A QUESTION OF LAW

The procedure for arresting a sitting Georgia sheriff is a pretty dry topic – unless the sheriff in question is the colorful and controversial Clayton County Sheriff Victor Hill.

Hill called 911 on May 3 to report that he had shot a female acquaintance in a model home near Lawrenceville.

The woman was rushed to the hospital with a gunshot wound to the abdomen. Hill was not talking to police.

Amid the unusual circumstances, Gwinnett County District Attorney Danny Porter AM750 and 95.5 FM News/Talk WSB that Georgia law says "a sitting sheriff cannot be charged except by a warrant issued by a Superior Court judge."

The law in question has been around since the 1800s and applies to far more people than just sheriffs.

It states: "Any warrant for the arrest of a peace officer, law enforcement officer, teacher, or school administrator for any offense alleged to have been committed while in the performance of his or her duties may be issued only by a judge of a superior court, a judge of a state court, or a judge of a probate court."

Porter's overarching point is that under Georgia law sheriffs are treated differently when they may have broken the laws they're supposed to uphold. On that point, Porter is correct.

But on the specifics, he was off base. Warrants can be issued against sheriffs by the state court and probate courts judges, not just superior court judges.

We rated Porter's statement Half True.

COMING SOON: MADEA CREATES SOME JOBS

A jobs claim will always catch PolitiFact Georgia’s eye.

Throw in a claim that involves Tyler Perry, one of the highest paid men in entertainment, and his proposed new Atlanta studio and we can’t resist.

Atlanta officials recently said they were about to close the deal to sell Perry 330 acres at the Army’s Fort McPherson on the city’s Southside, for redevelopment into a television and film studio.

According to the city, Perry would pay $30 million on top of the $200 million he has already invested in various entertainment ventures in Georgia.

The project could mean "over 8,000 new jobs, including the relocation of 350 jobs, " according a city press on Aug. 8, 2014, announcing a tentative agreement between Perry and a government agency overseeing the post's redevelopment.

That 8,000 jobs forecast has been repeated frequently, sometimes attributed to Atlanta Mayor Reed.

The mayor, however, has parsed his words more carefully, saying the project will create "hundreds" of jobs and has the potential to enhance the area culturally and economically.

A report does show that up to 8,300 jobs will be created by the studios.

But of those, at best only about 800 are expected to be permanent jobs. And 350 are already filled by executive staff at the current Tyler Perry Studios in southwest Atlanta.

The vast majority of the remaining jobs are short-term, associated with either construction of the studio or the many film and television productions that will be developed at the former Army post.

That's important and missing context that doesn't diminish the project but shortchanges the reader.

We rated the statement Half True.

DRIVE ALERT, ARRIVE ALIVE

Signs from the state Department of Transportation have been flashing daily tallies of statewide road deaths, as part of the agency’s Drive Alert, Arrive Alive program.

GDOT Commissioner Russell McMurry recently said in news reports that state is on pace to see 1,200 people lose their lives on Georgia roads this year.

If it happens, that would be a reversal after nine years of declines, he added.

Considering the busy summer driving season has yet to begin, PolitiFact Georgia was skeptical.

But, in fact, as of May 19, 465 people had been killed in vehicle crashes in Georgia, according to state DOT data.

That’s 69 more deaths, or 17 percent more, than during the same period in 2014.

That means Georgia is averaging 100 deaths a month, which would result in a year-end total of 1,200 deaths for the first time since 2011. It also would be the first year-to-year increase in nine years.

We rated the commissioner’s statement True.