DeKalb County Sheriff Jeff Mann, speaking through his lawyer, apologized to his constituents on Friday and said he plans to continue serve in his job.
“I am still your sheriff and hope to remain your sheriff,” Mann said in a statement read by his attorney Noah Pines.
Mann stood behind his lawyer but did not comment. It was his first public appearance since his arrest last weekend after allegedly exposing himself in Piedmont Park and then running from an Atlanta police officer.
Mann was flanked by former DeKalb Sheriff Thomas Brown and other high-ranking sheriffs officials.
In the statement, Mann apologized to the citizens of DeKalb County for the “unfavorable light” his arrest had cast on the county.
But Pines said he had counseled Mann not to speak on the particulars of the case.
“I trust the judicial process and I trust the presumption of innocence,” Pines said.
Earlier in the day, Pines told Gov. Nathan Deal he was wrong to launch an investigation into the sheriff’s arrest for allegedly exposing himself and running from police.
Pines wrote a letter to Deal on Friday asking him to reconsider his executive order that appointed a panel to investigate and consider suspending the sheriff.
Though Mann is charged with indecency and obstruction violations, Pines wrote that those aren’t “criminal charges” that would authorize the governor to appoint an investigative committee.
“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.
State law allows the governor to investigate sheriffs as a result of criminal charges, alleged misconduct in office or alleged incapacity to perform the functions of his office.
Deal cited criminal charges as the justification for starting the investigation Thursday.
Deal’s committee must report its findings within 30 days, and then Mann could be suspended for up to 90 days.