DeKalb Sheriff Jeffrey Mann – arrested last year after allegedly cruising for sex in Piedmont Park – fought to retain his law enforcement certification on Thursday. Without it, he would be forced out of his job.
Mann appealed to the Peace Officer Standards & Training Council on Thursday, hoping the panel will reinstate his certification. The council revoked it last September, some four months after Atlanta police arrested Mann in Piedmont Park. Armed with two condoms, the sheriff allegedly exposed himself and masturbated in front of an Atlanta police officer in an area of the park near 10th Street known for men seeking men for sex. He led the officer on a quarter-mile chase along 10th Street and Argonne Avenue before surrendering after he stopped to tie his shoes.
The park escapades prompted Mann to plead guilty to charges of obstruction and prohibited conduct in July, according to the AJC. He was fined $2,000 fine and ordered to serve 80 hours of community service. A judge also banished Mann from city parks for six months.
In September, POST – the state panel that certifies law enforcement officers – revoked his certification. If Mann loses his certification, state law mandates that he be removed from office.
Mann has said little publicly since his arrest last year. Initially, Mann called the incident a misunderstanding and then asked for support. A week after the arrest, Mann issued a statement though an attorney apologizing for "the unfavorable light I have brought on this county."
On Thursday, he maintained that silence ahead of the appeals hearing with POST. Via WSB:
“Can we talk about what you’ll be requesting today?” Carr asked Mann.
"No, we can’t,” Mann answered.
“Afterwards?” Carr asked.
“No. You can speak to my attorney. You can check with him."
Mann also declined to comment following an hour-long process, driving away from Carr when she asked if he’d address his constituents.
Mann's attorney, Noah Pines, declined to comment.
The fight over Mann's law enforcement certification could be lengthy. Via WSB:
According to their process, POST can do one of three things as a result of arguments heard in the hearing take no action, vote on a recommendation to issue another sanction or uphold this sanction to revoke Mann’s certification.
If the latter occurs, Mann can appeal to the Office of State Administrative Hearings, known as OSAH.
An Administrative Law Judge would oversee that hearing, and the state attorney would represent POST.
If it got to this point, and Mann did not agree with that judge, the case could head to Superior Court.