A Fulton County grand jury has indicted a former city of Atlanta employee on charges he tried to intimidate a key figure in the City Hall bribery investigation with a brick and dead rats.
Shandarrick Barnes, 41, faces felony charges of terroristic threats and criminal damage to property in the September 2015 incident at the home of contractor Elvin “E.R.” Mitchell Jr. Mitchell is one of two Atlanta area contractors to plead guilty so far to paying bribes in order to win city business. The Barnes indictment is dated Feb. 7.
Mitchell and contractor Charles P. Richards Jr. have pleaded guilty to conspiracy charges. They admitted to paying more than $1 million to an unnamed person from 2010 to 2015 under the belief a portion of the money they paid went to one or more city officials with influence over contracting.
An Atlanta Journal-Constitution and Channel 2 Action News analysis found Mitchell’s companies won millions of dollars worth of contracts during that time, including emergency work to remove snow during winter storms in 2011 and 2014. Much of the snow removal work came around the time the feds say Mitchell paid bribes.
Mitchell called Atlanta police before dawn on Sept. 11, 2015, after a brick crashed through his living room window. Written on the brick were the words: “ER, keep your mouth shut!!! Shut up.”
Dead rats also were left on Mitchell’s doorstep and truck.
Mitchell told police at the time he was talking to federal authorities.
Barnes, a Paulding County resident, was arrested in the incident last November and charged with criminal damage to property in the second degree.
An Atlanta police arrest affidavit from November states Barnes confessed to federal agents and is cooperating.
Barnes pleaded guilty in 2009 to racketeering in a scheme that defrauded government agencies in Cobb and DeKalb counties of more than $300,000.
Barnes also has deep ties to Mitzi Bickers, a well-known political consultant who played a key role in helping Kasim Reed win his first race for mayor in 2009.
Federal authorities have subpoenaed records related to Bickers from the city. Barnes worked for Bickers in several capacities before he went to prison, records reviewed by the AJC show. And he continued to work for her after she left City Hall in 2013, when Barnes was still employed by the city.
Barnes also listed Bickers, who is a former city director of human services, as a reference to get his city job.