DeKalb sheriff suspends himself after allegedly exposing himself


Even while fighting charges that he exposed himself in Piedmont Park and ran from police, DeKalb County Sheriff Jeff Mann suspended himself for one week.

Mann wrote in a memo to sheriff’s office employees Tuesday that his self-imposed suspension isn’t an admission of guilt. Instead, he said, it’s a penalty for his conduct.

In the memo, Mann wrote that he deserves the punishment because he needs to be held to a “higher standard” than his employees, who would be subject to internal discipline if they were arrested for similar offenses.

RELATED: DeKalb sheriff apologizes, says he plans to stay on the job

MORE: DeKalb sheriff seeks to block investigation of misconduct

“The mere fact of placing myself in a position to be arrested is sufficient reason for this self-imposed discipline,” Mann wrote in the memo that was emailed to employees and obtained Wednesday by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “I cannot, in good faith, fail to take responsibility for the negative and unwanted criticism brought to this great agency and the county, and I apologize to each of you.”

Mann, who said his one-week suspension shouldn’t be construed as an admission of guilt, has rejected calls to resign from the office he was re-elected to in November.

He was arrested the night of May 6 on charges of indecency and obstruction, both city of Atlanta ordinance violations. An incident report said a police officer saw Mann expose himself and then flee when the officer identified himself and turned his flashlight on Mann. He was apprehended about a quarter-mile away after leading the officer on a foot chase through Midtown Atlanta streets.

Mann’s suspension only strengthens the belief of many DeKalb residents that he did something wrong, said Harold Dennis, a former reserve lieutenant in the DeKalb Sheriff’s Office who ran against Mann last year.

“Basically, he’s admitting guilt,” Dennis said. “He’s telling his officers and his deputies that he did commit misconduct for actions he did in the city of Atlanta. He should go ahead and retire and stop causing the citizens of DeKalb County further embarrassment.”

Mann wrote that he imposed on himself the maximum penalty for the infraction of engaging in conduct that “has a tendency to destroy public respect … or destroy confidence in the operations of the county service.” The normal penalty for a first offense of this infraction is written counseling, he wrote.

“I cannot ask my employees to abide by a code of conduct unless I am willing to subject myself to it as well,” Mann wrote.

But Dennis said he knows of several deputies who have been fired for lesser offenses, and they might file lawsuits to seek their jobs back.

Mann will serve his suspension from Saturday through June 4. Mann wrote he will donate the equivalent of one week’s pay to charities to be determined in the near future.

He’s also facing the potential for further sanctions.

Besides the charges, Mann is also being investigated by a panel appointed by Gov. Nathan Deal. Based on the panel’s findings, the governor could suspend Mann for up to 90 days, order an additional investigation by the GBI and ask the DeKalb district attorney to initiate proceedings to remove the sheriff from office.

Mann and his attorney are asking a judge to stop the investigation, saying Mann isn’t accused of any misconduct in his official capacity as sheriff. Fulton County Superior Court Judge Eric Dunaway has scheduled a hearing on the matter next week.

It’s unusual for a sheriff to suspend himself, said Terry Norris, executive director for the Georgia Sheriffs’ Association. He can’t recall another time it’s happened in the last 20 years.

“I presume what he’s doing is an attempt to treat himself like any deputy or employee,” Norris said. “He’s the holder of the trust of the public through the election process. The question is, what do the citizens of DeKalb feel about his decision to do this?”

Norris said Mann’s self-suspension likely has little relevance to the governor’s investigation.

For now, Mann isn’t going anywhere.

“I am committed to remaining your sheriff and restoring your trust in me,” Mann wrote in the conclusion of his memo.



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Local

Mild, dry Thanksgiving eve 
Mild, dry Thanksgiving eve 

Today: Mostly sunny. High: 62 Tonight: Partly cloudy. Low: 47 Tomorrow: Partly cloudy. High: 58 Temperatures this Thanksgiving eve are just about where they should be, according to Channel 2 Action News. “It feels pretty nice out there,” Channel 2 meteorologist Karen Minton said. The high is 62 degrees for Atlanta, just above...
Gwinnett condo fire displaces 30 people just before Thanksgiving
Gwinnett condo fire displaces 30 people just before Thanksgiving

A fire has displaced about 30 people and destroyed much of a 10-unit condo building just before Thanksgiving, Gwinnett County officials said. The blaze at Robinwood Condominiums started about 11:30 p.m. Tuesday and took more than 30 minutes for firefighters to get under control, fire spokesman Justin Wilson said. Crews arrived on the scene in...
Sally Yates dips into legal fight over Georgia town’s bail practices
Sally Yates dips into legal fight over Georgia town’s bail practices

Former acting Attorney General Sally Yates is getting involved in a legal fight over the city of Calhoun’s bail practices. Yates, whom President Donald Trump fired in January for refusing to carry out his travel ban, joined more than two-dozen current and former prosecutors earlier this week urging an Atlanta-based federal...
Andrew Young picks a new candidate in Atlanta mayor race
Andrew Young picks a new candidate in Atlanta mayor race

Andrew Young, former Atlanta mayor and ambassador to the United Nations. AJC/Phil Skinner Former U.N. Ambassador Andrew Young will endorse Atlanta City Councilwoman Keisha Lance Bottom’s campaign for mayor as she readies for a Dec. 5 runoff against Councilwoman Mary Norwood. Bottoms’ campaign said the endorsement from Young...
BREAKING: Manhunt for Alabama fugitive ends in DeKalb
BREAKING: Manhunt for Alabama fugitive ends in DeKalb

A nationwide search for an Alabama fugitive who terrorized multiple people and abandoned one of the victims in metro Atlanta ended overnight, authorities said. Shane Anthony Vernon was captured just before 10:20 p.m. Tuesday in DeKalb County, according to the Coosa County Sheriff’s Office. He was arrested without incident and is being held at...
More Stories