A Georgia sheriff announced he would suspend himself for one week after being arrested earlier this month allegedly for exposing himself in a park, according to reports.
DeKalb County Sheriff Jeff Mann said in an email to the DCSO that he could not “ask my employees to abide by a code of conduct unless I am willing to subject myself as well,” a memo obtained by WAGA-TV said.
Mann is accused of exposing himself in an area of Piedmont Park “known for sexual acts after dark” at about 11 p.m. on May 6, an incident report said.
Mann allegedly sexually touched himself as he walked toward the officer, who “stood next to a tree to prevent [Mann] from noticing the reflective tape on [the] City of Atlanta Police uniform.”
After the officer identified himself and shined his flashlight on Mann, the sheriff ran away, but surrendered after he allegedly realized he would not be able to outrun the cop, according to the report filed by Atlanta Police.
He was charged with Atlanta ordinance violations of indecency and obstruction.
In his memo to office employees, Mann said his 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,” Mann continued. “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.”
Though the sheriff’s office usually imposes written counseling for a first-time infraction, Mann said he was imposing the maximum time of one week’s suspension, which would run from May 27 through June 4.
“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,” Mann wrote. “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.”
He said he plans to donate the equivalent of one week’s pay to a charity or charities.
Mann is also being investigated by a panel appointed by Gov. Nathan Deal. Based on the panel’s findings, the governor could suspend him for up to 90 days, order an additional investigation by the Georgia Bureau of Investigations or ask the DeKalb District Attorney to initiate proceedings to remove him from office, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.
Mann and his attorney have reportedly requested that a judge stop the investigation, saying Mann wasn’t accused of any misconduct in his official capacity as sheriff.
His attorney has requested an emergency hearing to be held by this Friday. The commission, appointed May 16, must issue its findings within 30 days, the Journal-Constitution wrote.
Mann is due in court on June 2.
“I am committed to remaining your sheriff and restoring your trust in me,” he said in the memo.