Gov. Nathan Deal on Monday suspended DeKalb County Sheriff Jeff Mann from office for 40 days after an investigation into his arrest for allegedly exposing himself, then running from police in Piedmont Park.
Deal suspended Mann for a shorter period than the 60-day maximum allowed under state law. The 40-day suspension was recommended by an investigatory committee made up of two sheriffs and Attorney General Chris Carr.
The suspension with pay doesn’t end Mann’s legal ordeal. He faces a July 7 trial in trial in Atlanta Municipal Court, and he’s also being investigated by the Georgia Peace Officer Standards and Training Council, which could suspend or revoke his license. A revocation of Mann’s license would result in his removal from office.
Mann pleaded not guilty but hasn’t provided an explanation. He previously has said he will clear his name.
An incident report said a police officer saw Mann expose himself May 6, 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.
The governor’s investigative committee relied on the incident report, as well as statements from the arresting officer, Mann and Mann’s attorney, according to Deal’s executive order.
Mann’s attorney, Noah Pines, didn’t immediately respond to an email seeking comment Monday.
Mann tried to stop Deal’s investigation several times. Mann’s attorney argued that the state law authorizing the investigation only covers alleged misconduct in his official capacity of sheriff, and that the city ordinance violations he was charged with didn’t amount to criminal charges that would justify an investigation.
Fulton County Superior Court Judge Eric Dunaway ruled May 31 that the investigation could move forward.
Mann pre-emptively suspended himself for one week for violating the code of conduct of the DeKalb Sheriff’s Office. Mann wrote in a memo to employees that he wasn’t admitting guilt, but he said he deserved to be disciplined for “placing myself in a position to be arrested.”
Under state law, governors have the power to suspend sheriffs up to 60 days, extend that suspension by another 30 days, order another investigation by the GBI and request that a district attorney initiate proceedings to remove the sheriff from office.
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Read Gov. Nathan Deal's order