But that probe can’t be completed until Mann’s legal case is resolved. And that could take awhile.
“This is a damaging, demoralizing event for the people of DeKalb County, the sheriff’s deputies and for sheriffs throughout the state,” said Terry Norris, executive director of the Georgia Sheriffs’ Association. “This needs to be resolved sooner rather than later.”
Depending on its findings, the governor’s committee could suspend Mann for a period of up to 90 days, at which point DeKalb’s chief superior court judge would appoint an interim sheriff, Norris said.
Mann allegedly exposed himself to an Atlanta police officer late Saturday night in an area of Piedmont Park popular with men cruising for sex. After the officer identified himself, the sheriff turned and ran, according to the incident report, leading the officer on a chase through a nearby Midtown neighborhood where he was eventually apprehended.
Mann has vowed to clear his name, and in a statement from his attorney he said he had no plans to step down, calling his arrest a “personal matter which should have no bearing on the DeKalb County Sheriff’s Office and its staff.”
“This is not a personal matter,” Norris said. “This is a public matter.”
Gov. Deal on Wednesday said his office has received the sheriff’s association letter and was considering the request.
“As you know, there is a procedure that can be followed in the event that it becomes necessary to appoint a panel to review and make recommendations,” he said. “But we have not gotten to that stage of it yet.”
Norris said he is confident the governor will convene the panel. In the meantime, he called on Mann to either resign or elaborate on his claim that the incident was a “misunderstanding.”
“Sheriffs don’t run from police,” Norris said.
— Staff writer Greg Bluestein contributed to this report.
A native Atlantan, Boone joined the AJC staff in 2007. He quickly carved out a niche covering crime stories, assuming the public safety beat in 2014. He's covered some of the biggest trials this decade, from Hemy Neuman to Ross Harris to Chip Olsen, the latter of which was featured on Season 7 of the AJC's award-winning "Breakdown" podcast.