ATLANTA — The DeKalb County sheriff is now banned from all Atlanta city parks after reaching a plea deal in his arrest for indecency.
Channel 2’s Nicole Carr has been digging into the case against DeKalb County Sheriff Jeffrey Mann since his May arrest in Piedmont Park on indecency and obstruction charges for allegedly exposing himself and running from police.
Carr obtained a state report that detailed how Mann admitted to using taxpayer resources and time during his indecent exposure arrest.
Mann took a plea deal Thursday, pleading guilty to slightly different charges than he was originally charged with.
Mann originally faced indecency and obstruction charges for his May 6 arrest in Piedmont Park, where he was accused of exposing his private parts and running from police.
He does not deny running from police.
But he also pleaded guilty to lesser disorderly and prohibited conduct charges.
Mann is now banned from all city of Atlanta parks for six months. He was ordered to pay a $2,000 fine to the courts right after the hearing and was ordered to complete 80 hours of community service.
That service was completed during his state-issued suspension this month and a state-approved sex offender treatment provider decided he didn't need counseling.
“It's a win for Sheriff Mann but an assurance to the city that Sheriff Mann isn't a further danger to anyone in the park,” Channel 2 legal analyst Esther Panitch told Carr.
“He got weak, and I know all have sinned and come short of the glory of God when you're not really praying and he was not praying that night,” said Pastor Cal Murrell.
Supporters said the guilty plea has left questions about his role as sheriff.
"I'm contemplating that, but I want his family to be free,” Murrell said.
Mann left court from a side exit. His attorney, Noah Pines, wouldn't talk about the change in admitting guilt.
"I'm not talking, so you can do whatever you want," Pines said.
"So you're not going to talk about why the plea was changed?” Carr asked Pines.
Pines didn’t answer Carr.
Carr filed an open records request to get the state report used to suspend Mann over the summer.
Unlike previous statements, Mann admitted what happened in the park wasn't "personal time," that he was in a "county-issued vehicle" and never should have run from the officer, the document showed.
The committee saw a "conflict of evidence" based on the sheriff's statements, but his attorney continued to "deny the indecency allegations."
This is still an open case as far as law enforcement is concerned.
We know he is back this week from a governor-issued 40-day suspension, but POST, the agency that accredits law enforcement in Georgia, has their own open investigation in the incident.
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