ATLANTA, Ga. — Sheriff Jeffrey Mann of DeKalb County was arrested on charges of public indecency and obstructing an officer on May 6. The incident occurred in Piedmont Park in Atlanta, an area known for decades as a spot for gay cruising.
According to a report filed by the arresting officer with Atlanta Police Department, the officer was patrolling the park by foot when he spotted the suspect. Mann was allegedly exposing himself and masturbating while walking in the direction of the officer.
“I allowed the male to get approximately 7 to 10 feet from me before I used my flashlight to shine it on the male. The male immediately fled on foot. I ran behind the male while yelling, ‘Police. Stop!’” the report said.
The suspect then fled on foot in a quarter-mile chase that ended in front of Brad Edmond’s home near 9th St. in Atlanta.
“The man is definitely unfit for his office. He has betrayed everyone, including the people who look up to him and respect him. But, what a joke,” Edmond told WSB-TV’s Rikki Klaus.
Piedmont Park is a familiar name to many in Atlanta’s LGBTQ community. In July 2016, one man was arrested in the park for an alleged all-male three-way gone awry.
According to WSB-TV, every sheriff elected for a full term in DeKalb County since 1965 has faced criminal charges, with the exception of Mann’s predecessor, Thomas Brown. Rumors of corruption run deep and are hard to shake.
“When things like this happen,” DeKalb County Commissioner Nancy Jester told ABC News, “it just feeds into that distrust and makes governing more difficult.”
Mann was released on bond over the weekend, and a DeKalb County representative released a statement Monday regarding the incident.
“Sheriff Mann will continue to run the DeKalb County Sheriff’s Office at the level of excellence it is known for and in keeping with what the citizens of DeKalb County expect and deserve,” the statement read. “He asks that you respect that this is a personal matter, which should have no bearing on the DeKalb County Sheriff’s Office and its staff.”