published Thursday, December 1st, 2011

Officer questions LaFayette Underground blogger critical of police

  • photo
    The LaFayette Underground blog is seen in this screenshot.

A LaFayette, Ga., blogger known for strongly criticizing local police and officials online says he was intimidated by an officer after his identity was discovered several months ago.

Kristopher Marks said he was questioned at his workplace nearly two months ago after video surveillance showed his vehicle parked at a city building after hours.

Marks said Assistant Police Chief Bengie Clift told him if the local blog the LaFayette Underground stopped writing in depth about the police department, police wouldn't charge him with trespassing.

"He made it clear if that happened the trespassing charge wouldn't go anywhere," he said.

But Clift said he only warned Marks not to go onto city property after hours or he could face trespassing charges.

"You can't go off on [city] property at night snooping around," Clift said.

Identities of writers whose work appears on the LaFayette Underground are kept secret. The blog is known for writing critical posts and sometimes rumors about police, city and Walker County officials.

Clift acknowledged that he talked to Marks about the blog and asked him to give a phone call to any officer being written about.

"I don't have a problem with [the blog] until you start calling people that work for me stupid," Clift said.

The LaFayette Underground wrote several posts last year criticizing police department investigations into multiple arsons across town, accusing police of ignoring the problem. The blog then named a juvenile as the arsonist.

But police later arrested volunteer firefighter Melvin Chase in December 2010 and charged him in connection with several arson incidents over the past five years.

While police said they are frustrated with the blog posts, LaFayette police Chief Tommy Freeman said his department isn't targeting the blog's writers.

"We've got bigger things to worry about than worrying about the LaFayette Underground," Freeman said.

Marks said he is worried that his employer -- Kids 4 Christ, a local Christian nonprofit agency -- could be targeted now that his identity is known.

In a local newspaper article, several county officials said they were disappointed to learn that one of the LaFayette Underground contributors worked for a Christian organization.

about Joy Lukachick Smith...

Joy Lukachick Smith is the city government reporter for the Chattanooga Times Free Press. Since 2009, she's covered crime and court systems in North Georgia and rural Tennessee, landed an exclusive in-prison interview with a former cop convicted of killing his wife, exposed impropriety in an FBI-led, child-sex online sting and exposed corruption in government agencies. Earlier this year, Smith won the Malcolm Law Memorial Award for Investigative Reporting. She also won first place in ...

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inquiringmind said...

"In a local newspaper article, several county officials said they were disappointed to learn that one of the LaFayette Underground contributors worked for a Christian organization."

I guess good Christians are supposed to just stand up and defend the government at all costs...right or wrong?

December 1, 2011 at 8:30 a.m.
XGSBoss said...

Cops resorting to extortion? UNHEARD of!!

December 1, 2011 at 9:19 a.m.
Gator said...

I'm just a little confused as to why the county officials were "disappointed" when they learned this guy worked for a Christian organization. What difference does it make? Are Christians supposed to ignore situations that they perceive as abuses of authority? Do they think all Christians are "sheeple"? If so, they are very, VERY wrong.

December 1, 2011 at 11:03 a.m.
knightrider said...

First and formost "extortion" is flat out slanderous of an accusation in this particular case. Mr Clift was NOT attempting to obtain financial gain from Kristopher Marks. What Kristopher Marks has done however is support and aid in the slanderizing of SEVERAL city of LaFayette Police Department officers. By supporting a person whom wishes to sit by and criticize instead of be apart of a solution,slanderize the investigation efforts of an entire Police Department and one of their best Detectives to date at least in my opinion.

 As for the continuous subject of Christianity being a subject at hand here, for those whom believe in Jesus Christ and profess themselves to be Christian. The Holy Bible clearly states to NOT do wicked. "Abstain from all appearance of evil." 1 Thessalonians 5:22, and the wicked or evil act is blatenly lying on LaFayette's finest. When "LaFayette Underground" stated that the City of LaFayette wasn't doing anything about those fires that were being set in those abandoned houses;that is a lie. I challenge anyone to prove me wrong by asking for the police files in regards to them.They are available via the Freedom of Information Act, and you will see that each and every fire was investigated. I do believe that Exodus 20:16 clearly states "Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour."

For those whom still ask why is religion the subject? Simple Kristopher Marks is affiliated with one of the most hypocritical "religious" organizations in all of Walker County. That as this article states being Kids 4 Christ. And religion in this subject is a vital subject because if you're a person that is suppose to carry Christian principles, you're to stick to them to the best of your ability.(At least that's what the bible says!).And for a man that's a professed "Christian" to turn around,break his vows he made to God the moment he decided to give his life to Christ,then turn around and do what some Christians would call the "Devil's work" just means that he's a hypocrite,a liar and is more than likely doing a LOT worst and should be FORCED to give up the identity of the LaFayette Underground,and everyone affiliated considering the fact that this person and his "contributors" have done NOTHING but slanderized a LOT of honest people ! I am with Mr Clift 100% on this, I demand the END of LaFayette Underground's slanderous lies !

December 1, 2011 at 2:31 p.m.
nicole200965 said...

I think the steve wilson, clift and everyone else involved should be ashamed! They are trying to make this out to be about kids 4 Christ. My children go there and they love it. They help children a great. The Lafayette officials want to ruin anything that is good for kids. You have to start wondering if they dislike children. I don't really care who is involved with the Lafayette underground to be honest. If I don't like what they have to say I wont read it. For them to say to the walker county messenger that they wont support kids for Christ anymore is a bunch of crap and the ones that are voted in will not be voted for by me or my family this coming election!

December 1, 2011 at 3:12 p.m.
jayh said...

But you see, slander has to be false information...

December 1, 2011 at 3:16 p.m.
grayhermia said...

"We've got bigger things to worry about than worrying about the LaFayette Underground," Freeman said.

Super, then stop trying to figure out who they are and wasting time looking through surveillance footage.

I may not always agree with LU but what it accomplishes is getting people to think about what's going on with our city and to ask questions. So what if they aren't always right, they get you to pay attention. We should question what is going on and we should get irrefutable answers. They are our governement after all. Why do we have an unfinished overpriced softball field? Why do we dump money in the golf course that few use? Why are we putting money in the airfield that is practically a ghost town? Why do kids now have to pay $4 a pop to use the community pool? I want to know. Don't you? I wouldn't know even an eighth of what's going on in LaFayette or care, if LU hadn't brought it to my attention. I like to think of LU as a non violent version of "V". Behind the mask of the site isn't any one person, it's an idea. It might not always be sugar coated wonderfulness but in everything they write there is a grain of truth (though most of the time it's like an ocean side of truth). If you question what they write, look it up, ask questions, go to town meetings. And support Kids 4 Christ as well as anyother charity aimed at helping local children. Shame on anyone who would not give simply because someone affilated with LU is also affiliated with the charity.

December 1, 2011 at 4:11 p.m.
knightrider said...

For one Nicole I've spoken to several people that have been affiliated with Kids 4 Christ,and prior to all this I'm sure they would have told you that their is a CONSTANT attitude problem with the kids they deal with.Operative phrase here, A CONSTANT ATTITUDE PROBLEM.So much for this organization being good for kids, if it was such a great organization they would be able to reach through to these kids and turn their lives around instead of these little piss ants continuing to be like they are.

As for you Jay, as I stated above,go to the City of LaFayette Police Department and ask for copies of the case files surrounding the investigation of all of those fires ,you will see that from day one of those fires being determined Arson that those fires were investigated,NOT just when these fires happened in the "nicer parts of town". Also,go back on LaFayette Underground's website and search for the allegations against an innocent teenage kid that was FALSELY ACCUSED by LaFayette Underground, MOST LIKELY Kristopher Marks wrote that article. This teenage kid was FALSELY ACCUSED by LaFayette Underground for breaking into vehicles,stealing things from these vehicles and vandalizing. Although no such arrest had taken place of any such teenage kid. So there's your false information buddy ! Cram that down your pie hole nimrod! Booyahh BEEOTCH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

December 1, 2011 at 4:18 p.m.
nicole200965 said...

First of all knightrider, i'm talking about 5-6 year old kids. I'm sure constant attitude with that age group is not a problem and even if it was its not the churches fault! They have an after school program for kids to help with their homework. Unless you kids go there shut up! If you believe hear say then maybe everyone should believe everything they hear about the city of lafayette. My kids are small and they go there every thursday night and love it.

December 1, 2011 at 5:13 p.m.
XGSBoss said...

Kidrider is just mad cause they taught the kids to yell "NO!" and run away when he offered them candy from his windowless van.

December 1, 2011 at 5:28 p.m.
knightrider said...

Nicole apparently you're NOT a parent. XGSBOSS,it would suck for you if my attorney's office managed to find out whom you are and we file a lawsuit against you for slandering me, assuming I'm a child predator;wouldn't it?

December 1, 2011 at 6:17 p.m.
jayh said...

Wow, just wow. So laughable.

December 1, 2011 at 9:45 p.m.
caringcitizen said...

Christopher Marks is definately not the good Christian just trying to make some positive change in his community by standing up to the mean old government. He is however a coward and a slanderer who hides behind a computer and takes a few twisted facts sent to him by way of other malcontents and mixes in his own personal self rightous views and formulates a toxic mixture of lies against whoever is the political flavor of the week. he is doing the same thing that teens all across this country get arrested for on a daily basis- that is called cyber bulling. he uses his precious little blog to carry out nothing short of character assassination against anyone he has deemed to be sinister. my aunt used to volunteer at his non profit organization called kids for Christ. She liked the original mission and loved helping the kids but could not tolerate working with Marks. She said that he was rude and disrespectful to the needy children and continually talked down to them and other volunteers so she left with a broken heart. she is the closest think i have ever seen to a saint. an older retired grandmother who willfully gives all her excess time and funds to help others in need. i have never heard her speak an ill word of anyone she has ever met but she was truely disgusted by Christopher Marks and his poor attitude towards others.

December 1, 2011 at 10:11 p.m.
Neutral said...

The question of K4C and Mr. Marks association with a Christian organization is irrelevant to his criticism of local government. The fact of the matter is that The LaFayette Underground has especially on its Facebook Page, often resorted to character assasination and name calling as opposed to sticking to facts. Those on the receiving end of the attacks are labeled as everything from thieves, liars and rapists and consist of not only the local politicians but also city employees as well as local businessmen. This is the behavior that has created the most controversy and is not exempliary of proper Christian behavior. Unfortunately, K4C is being tarnished due to Mr. Marks' association with an organization which conducts itself in this manner. The LaFayette Underground can serve avery useful purpose if it can work towards keeping to factual information without the unfounded personal attacks.

December 5, 2011 at 5:45 p.m.
wgroover said...

I guess I shouldn't be using my first initial and last name to say- most local cops do suck...

December 7, 2011 at 10:37 a.m.
wgroover said...

Dang! someone hacked me!

December 7, 2011 at 10:40 a.m.
blindmouses said...

Local cops in Lafayette have bigger things to worry about than a website?

  • Speeding

  • Illegal usage of blinkers

  • Head / Tail light outages

  • Expired tags

And... Thats it

December 13, 2011 at 9:04 a.m.
Ouzzy88 said...

Glad I live in Hamilton County, TN we have honest officials here, and in Chattanooga! We know to keep our mouths clamped tigh, yup!

Ouzzy88 2012 write it in.

January 2, 2012 at 8:02 p.m.
knightrider said...

What I am about to type The Lafayette Underground does NOT want anyone to read. They (The Lafayette Underground ) have removed this information from their website several times and have also done so from their Facebook page and have banned me several times from posting it. However the following people make up the Lafayette Underground. And I am sure that there are more that are affiliated but these are those I can assure people that are 100% confirmed identities. Those people are Les Coffey former owner of the Peerless Woolen Mills building in Rossville. He is the man that primarily funds the website. Or did so til a few months ago. Lucas "Luke" Hoffman , Michelle Haines Sipsy and husband Brian Sipsy . Brian Sipsy was terminated from his job at the Walker County Sheriff Department for using a computer to type articles on either the Lafayette Underground website or the Facebook page, possibly both. When his job was to be a jailer . We all know from the above article that Kristopher Marks is affiliated but his wife Katie is as well. Victor "Vic" Burgess, Michael Lovelady owner of both the One Eleven and Chattanooga Street Tavern, also the same man that owns the entire "Mars Theater District" in Lafayette Georgia is also a contributor. Lastly the man that founded the Lafayette Underground ,former Lafayette High School Band teacher/director David Beckwith. He was fired and somehow avoided criminal prosecution after it was found out that he was having inappropriate relations with a then student in roughly 1996-1997ish. Which is more than likely why he's so pissed of at the City of Lafayette but the man needs to thank his lucky stars he isn't in prison for having relations with a student. The Lafayette Underground's current IP address traces back to the Fulton County District Attorney's office. Which is an obvious IP mask. Go to your start menu, click on program search type cmd to open the command prompt then type in tracert and what will pop up is an ip number next to the phrase "tracing route to and will show the IP number the following "HOP" IP numbers are those of contributors that login the backdoor of the Lafayette Underground website. Those change daily. But the main IP does not. I will be contacting the Fulton County District Attorney's office to inform them that a website is using their location as a mask for their IP so that it can be traced back to their office and not the actual owner of the Lafayette Underground is registered in the name of.

March 19, 2013 at 8:07 a.m.
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