Gov. Deal appoints committee to investigate Walton sheriff’s arrest at a Florida bar

Walton County Sheriff Joe Chapman (Credit: AJC file)

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Walton County Sheriff Joe Chapman (Credit: AJC file)

Governor Nathan Deal issued an executive order Wednesday appointing a committee to investigate a Georgia sheriff who was charged more than a year ago in a Florida bar incident  that involved money on a pool table.

Walton County Sheriff Joe Chapman and Maj. Damien Mercer were involved in a bar incident on May 26, 2016 in Carrabelle near the Gulf Coast. The men were initially charged with battery, which was later changed to disorderly conduct. That charge was dropped July 5.

The committee — consisting of Attorney General Chris Carr, Hall County Sheriff Gerald Couch and McDuffie County Sheriff Logan Marshall — will investigate if Chapman violated his oath, according to the executive order. The committee has 30 days to report its findings.

A Carrabelle, Fla., officer wrote that surveillance video of the incident showed “Mr. Chapman ... shoved Charles (Gray) in the back causing him to fall onto a table ... and that Maj. Damien Mercer struck (Gray’s twin brother, William) in the left side of the neck with an open hand.”

Chapman told his version of events in a Facebook post two weeks ago.

“(The other people involved) went outside and returned with a crowbar. The two threatened to beat and shoot me,” Chapman said. “I hate that this happened and I'm embarrassed that it happened. With that being said, I can't say that I would have handled the situation any different.”

Chapman also faces scrutiny from the agency that certifies peace officers in Georgia, according to Channel 2. Under Georgia law, officers are required to self-report any arrests.

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