DeKalb Sheriff Jeffrey Mann suspends himself, cites “conduct unbecoming”

May 26, 20175min2280
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DeKalb County Sheriff Jeffrey Mann, who is under investigation for exposing himself in an Atlanta public park and running from police, says he is disciplining himself for “conduct unbecoming.”

Mann said in a statement that he is suspending himself May 27 through June 4 and donating one week’s pay to a charity to be determined.

Mann’s announcement comes in advance of a the findings of an investigation expected to be reported in a few days to Gov. Nathan Deal. The governor ordered a special panel to broaden its scope of an investigation of Mann, who was arrested on May 6 for exposing himself in an Atlanta park and running from police.

The special panel was given 30 days from May 11 to report its findings to Deal. The governor updated his executive order on May 16, calling for the panel to not only look into criminal charges, but alleged misconduct in office and the alleged incapacity to perform the functions of office.

Deal’s new executive order was issued after Mann’s attorney, Noah Pines, held a news conference and told reporter he had asked the governor to reconsider having Mann investigated because the charges against him amounted to violations of city ordinances—not criminal charges. Deal had cited criminal charges as the justification for appointing an investigative committee but asked for the panel to probe more deeply.

Deal appointed Attorney General Chris Carr, Newton County Sheriff Ezell Brown and Peach County Sheriff Terry Deese to conduct the investigation. Deese sent a letter to the governor on behalf of the Georgia Sheriff’s Association requesting that an investigation be conducted. Mann could be suspended for up to 90 days base on its findings.

Mann’s spokesperson, Cynthia Williams, said after news outlets obtained a copy of an internal memo Mann had provided to employees of the Sheriff’s Office on May 23, he released the memo to the public. Mann’s memo reads as followed:

“Each day I ask the employees of the DeKalb County Sheriff’s Office to perform in public and in private at the highest professional standards.  Being in law enforcement, I know we are called to be model citizens and to remain mindful of keeping the public trust.  As such, I cannot ask my employees to abide by a code of conduct unless I am willing to subject myself to it as well.  In fact, I must be held to an even higher standard than my employees as it relates to our Code of Conduct policy and schedule of penalties.  As a dedicated public servant for nearly 25 years, I know the importance of serving with integrity.  It is for this reason that I am imposing upon myself discipline under our Code.

“I am disciplining myself for “conduct unbecoming,” specifically the provision defined as “engaging in conduct on or off duty which has a tendency to destroy public respect for the employee and/or the DKSO and/or destroy confidence in the operations of the County service is conduct unbecoming and is prohibited.”  This self-imposed discipline should not be construed to suggest or imply guilt of the Atlanta municipal ordinance charges alleged.  I will continue to vigorously defend myself as it relates to the charges.  However, the mere fact of placing myself in a position to be arrested is sufficient reason for this self-imposed discipline.  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.  You deserve a leader who takes responsibility for his actions.

“While the schedule of penalty for this infraction (first instance) is written counseling, in my case, I am imposing the maximum time of one week’s suspension.  My suspension will be effective Saturday, May 27, 2017 through Sunday, June 4, 2017.

“I will donate the equivalent of one week’s pay to a charity or charities to be determined in the very near future.

 “I am committed to remaining your Sheriff and restoring your trust in me.”

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