For the first time, DeKalb County Jeff Mann is talking about his May 2017 Piedmont Park arrest, the aftermath and why he plans to fight to keep his law enforcement certification.
Channel 2 Investigative Reporter Nicole Carr approached Mann following an unrelated news conference Thursday. Carr has covered every step of Mann’s case, and found the home surveillance video of him running from Atlanta Police, who accused him of exposing himself in the park. That chase led to Mann’s guilty plea and a yearlong ban from Atlanta City Parks.
“This error, that I’ve acknowledged, apologized for and I’m ready to move to move on,” Mann told Carr.
Mann confirmed his appeal to keep his law enforcement certification has been denied by POST, the state’s law enforcement training and accreditation arm. When Carr met Mann outside of the hearing last month, he was not willing to speak about his appeals request, but on Thursday revealed he was taken aback by the outcome.
“Do you think it’s gone too far?” Carr asked.
“I do,” Mann answered. “I think it’s, um, unprecedented. But you know, that’s their call and we’ll let the process work it out.”
The process leads to a state administrative law judge who will hear Mann’s arguments in an upcoming hearing. Mann is represented by his personal defense attorney, Noah Pines. A DeKalb County Open Records Request filed by Channel 2 last month revealed there’s no documentation suggesting taxpayers fund those legal fees.
The state Attorney General’s Office will argue against the appeal. If Mann is not satisfied with the results, he has third tier appeal opportunity that leads to State Superior Court. The process can drag out for months, depending on court schedules and appeal decisions.
A PERSONAL TOLL
The details of Mann’s middle-of the-night arrest raised questions about his activities in Piedmont Park, and his integrity and decision-making when led an Atlanta police officer on a quarter mile chase into a neighborhood.
When Governor Nathan Deal ordered a panel to investigate the case, Mann challenged the state.
He was unsuccessful in Fulton County Superior Court, and the panel, comprised of the state attorney general and two other sheriffs, concluded there was gross misconduct amid the chase.
They issued a 40-day suspension in the summer of 2017. That followed Mann’s week-long self-
suspension he announced via an internal memo ahead of Memorial Day.
Mann , who was originally charged with indecency and obstruction ended up pleading guilty to lesser disorderly and prohibited conduct charges in Atlanta Municipal Court. His July 2017 sentencing included a city parks ban and community service, which he’d completed prior to the court date.
Post then took up their own investigation, and voted to revoke Mann’s law enforcement certification in September 2017.
E-mails obtained by Channel 2 through an Open Records Request reveal a number of scheduling conflicts for Mann’s attorney Noah Pines. Pines had the appeals hearing continued several times before he and Mann went before POST in early March 2018.
Mann, who’s rarely been seen at public events, said he’s spent the last year in the community, acknowledging his error and apologizing for a mistake.
“Naturally it’s been tough,” Mann told Carr. “ It’s been tough, but you know it is what it is, and so I’m dealing with it, okay?”
He noted his office’s successes and told Carr it is void of corruption.
“I enjoy being the Sheriff,” Mann said. “ I enjoy being their Sheriff and I think I should be judged , not by one error, not by one lapse of judgement , but what I’ve done as Sheriff for the last four years.”