A Georgia deputy who called Ahmaud Arbery a criminal on social media has resigned from his post, according to officials, WGXA News reported.
Deputy Paul Urhahn, a 20-year veteran of the Houston County Sheriff’s Office, was suspended without pay on Jan. 10 for a comment he made on a WGXA-TV Facebook post about the men who killed Arbery, the outlet reported. Sheriff Cullen Talton gave Urhahn ten days to appeal the decision or face termination.
“That criminal Arbery still got the death penalty though,” Urhahn wrote in a now-deleted comment, WGXA News reported.
Arbery, a 25-year-old black man, was shot and killed in Brunswick, Georgia, in February 2020 as three men attempted to carry out a citizen’s arrest by chasing and cornering Arbery. The men claimed Arbery was the perpetrator of recent break-ins in their neighborhood, but prosecutors said he was merely jogging in the area.
On Jan. 7, Gregory McMichael and his son Travis were sentenced to life without parole, while neighbor William Bryan was given life in prison with parole, WGXA News reported.
Urhahn said he was exercising his “Constitutional Right to Free Speech,” during his off-duty time, resulting in “a very unfortunate series of events,” according to his resignation letter obtained by WGXA News.
“After deep consideration, I cannot continue as a member of this team and organization,” Urhahn wrote in the letter. “To continue to do so would be against who I am and what I believe in.”
Talton condemned Urhahn’s comments and said that police officers need to be careful when they speak since it is their job to uphold the law.
“Personally, I don’t think he needs to be in law enforcement,” Talton said of Urhahn, WGXA News reported. “It’s more damaging for a law enforcement officer to make a comment like that because he’s supposed to be upholding the law.”
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