ATLANTA (AP) – A Georgia sheriff accused of exposing himself in a public park in Atlanta apologized Friday to his constituents but said he plans to remain in his job.
DeKalb County Sheriff Jeffrey Mann stood beside his attorney Noah Pines on Friday as Pines read a statement from Mann, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports.
“I am still your sheriff and hope to remain your sheriff,” the statement said. Mann also apologized for the “unfavorable light” cast on the county by his arrest.
The sheriff did not speak. Pines said he had advised Mann not to talk about the details of the case.
Mann was arrested May 6 after a police officer said Mann exposed himself to the officer in Piedmont Park and then ran, leading the officer on a chase. He faces charges of indecency and obstruction of an officer.
“I trust the judicial process and I trust the presumption of innocence,” Pines said.
Gov. Nathan Deal on Thursday ordered a three-person panel to investigate the charges against Mann. State law allows the governor to convene a panel of two sheriffs and the state attorney general to investigate and recommend whether a sheriff facing criminal or ethics charges should be suspended.
Pines sent a letter to Deal on Friday saying he believes the governor was wrong to launch an investigation in this case and asking him to reconsider his executive order, the newspaper reported.
“Sheriff Mann is not facing ‘criminal charges’ as defined by Georgia law; instead Sheriff Mann was only accused of violating city of Atlanta ordinances … which are not criminal charges,” Pines wrote.
The Georgia Peace Officer Standards and Training Council, which certifies law enforcement officers in the state, has also opened an investigation into the case.