Three days before a DeKalb County deputy was set to retire after 20 years with the sheriff’s office, he was forced to resign because of an Afro wig he wore while directing traffic, he said.
Antonio Perryman told Channel 2 Action News he was called late that night and forced to resign because he “disgraced the uniform.” However, he said that’s hypocritical, given who runs the sheriff’s office.
“I just got numb like, I disgraced the uniform?” Perryman questioned. “In my mind, I’m here saying that we got a sheriff running through Piedmont Park from the police like it’s an episode of cops.”
He's referring to an incident in which Sheriff Jeffrey Mann was charged with indecency and obstruction in 2017 after video surfaced of him running from Atlanta police in the park, AJC.com previously reported.
He ended up pleading guilty to lesser charges, which led to his state law enforcement certification being revoked. He's still fighting that decision in appellate court.
Perryman said he wanted to do something a little different for his last few days, so he wore the wig as he directed traffic two weeks ago outside the county’s courthouse, Channel 2 reported. He said bystanders took pictures and enjoyed it.
“You know that made me feel a little joyous about that being my last week,” he said.
He told the news station he doesn’t expect to miss any pay because of his resignation, but his records won’t reflect that he retired.
“My plan was to finish with the DeKalb County Sheriff’s Office with 20 years of service, and I got robbed from that,” Perryman said.
A week after Channel 2 and AJC.com reported on Perryman’s forced resignation, Chief Deputy Melony Maddox spoke out about the incident, refuting some of the language.
“I was very disturbed at the fact that he would say that the sheriff and myself stated that he was a disgrace to the uniform,” she told the news station. “Those words never came out of my mouth nor the sheriff’s mouth.”
Maddox added that the wig didn’t reflect the “seriousness of the trials” at the courthouse, and that the whole incident was prompted by a citizen’s complaint. However, she told Channel 2 she doesn’t consider it a forced resignation since he isn’t losing any pay, and she also wished Perryman the best, thanking him for his two decades of service.
For Perryman, he’s left DeKalb for a post-retirement gig in California, he told Channel 2.
Zachary Hansen, a Georgia native, covers economic development and commercial real estate for the AJC. He's been with the newspaper since 2018 and enjoys diving into complex stories that affect people's lives.