The public trust continues to be eroded, due process is a right of all citizens

Jeff Mann
Photo Credit: DeKalb County Sheriff’s Office

I have never met Sheriff  Jeff Mann of DeKalb County and I do not know him. In addition, I did not vote for him in the last election. Mann was initially elected in July 2014 to complete Brown term in a special election. In 2016 he won his own four-year term.

I do not defend Sheriff Jeff Mann behavior, however, I do defend his right to due process.

This is bigger than Jeff Mann. It is about double standards, being treated fairly, and due process. He has not had due process as of yet, but many have stated that he should resign, without all the facts and a chance for Sheriff Jeff Mann to tell his side of the story. I suggest that he get his attorney and a PR person to defend his actions.

I agree the situation does not look good. Less, I should hold my tongue. I will call this like I see it. Jeff Mann, like Sherriff Victor Hill of Clayton County who shot an acquaintance in another county while looking at a new house, is still in office. He had a trial and was acquitted by a jury.

I do not believe that race should have anything to do with the outcome. I am glad that he was not shot while he was allegedly fleeing police.  It is good to know that Sherriff Mann did not receive special treatment and was at least arrested. I believe that everyone should be treated the same and that all our rights protected.  If you or I had done the same thing we would have been arrested and locked up. The only difference is it would probably not have been Breaking News.

Sheriff Mann is an elected constitutional officer of the state of Georgia, He has to be held to a high standard of behavior. He is not a part-time sheriff. Why do we keep giving these politicians, police, and preachers’ waivers or accept their excuses for their behavior? I agree that it is premature and a rush to judgment to ask Sheriff Mann to resign before the facts and evidence have been determined and established.

I do not see what his sexual preference or whether he was married has to do with him being at Piedmont Park. The last time I checked, there are all kinds of people that visit Piedmont Park in Atlanta. We have the freedom to go anywhere we desire. This behavior could have been done by a married person, a priest, a congressman, a single person, a prostitute, or a dog.

Again, I do not defend the Sheriff’s behavior, however, I do and I will defend his right to due process. Due process is part of the US Constitution. Let the legal process play out and allow Sheriff Mann due process. It is the American way. Sheriff Mann is an elected official a constitutional officer of the state of Georgia and an American citizen. His Excellency, the Governor can suspend and/or remove an elected official from the office which is a royal authority a legacy of the Great Britain, and not democratic. I believe that the voters should have some say in the matter.  The sheriff can be recalled by the voters and they can also not re-elect him.

What many Americans do not know and may have different experiences is that “fleeing from police is not, by itself, illegal in America, and the U.S. Supreme Court has made clear that in safe neighborhoods, people not suspected of criminal activity can ignore a police officer who approaches them, even to the point of walking away.”

The Georgia Sheriff Association has asked Governor Deal to investigate the arrest and the charges related to Sheriff Mann Piedmont Park Activities on Saturday, May 6, 2017.  I believe that this process should be allowed to play out and that the sheriff be allowed to defend himself in court and not in the media.  When one man loses his rights, we all will lose them.  Are we the land of the free? Do we believe in liberty and justice for all?

Specifically, the Governor may initiate an investigation of any suspected misconduct by any sheriff and may suspend the sheriff. O.C.G.A. § 15-16-26(a), (c). The Governor selects two sheriffs, who along with the State Attorney General, conduct the investigation for the Governor. O.C.G.A. § 15-16-26(a). The State funds the investigation. Id.

If the Governor’s committee recommends suspension to the Governor, the Governor may suspend the sheriff for sixty days and extend that suspension for thirty additional days. O.C.G.A. § 15-16-26(c). This disciplinary procedure is direct, substantial, and immediate state control over the sheriff’s acts. If Sheriff Peterson permits excessive force, all the Governor must do is have a committee immediately investigate and report, and the Governor can suspend him.38

Moreover, if the Governor believes the sheriff should be removed from office, the Governor is “authorized to request the district attorney of the county of the sheriff’s residence to bring a removal petition against the sheriff” based upon the evidence reported by the Governor’s investigation committee.39 Id. The Governor may order additional investigation “by the committee, by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, by other law enforcement agencies ․ or by any special committee appointed by the Governor for such purpose.” O.C.G.A. § 15-16-

“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.” – Martin Luther King, Jr.

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