HOUSTON COUNTY, Ga. — A Georgia sheriff’s deputy suspended for a social media comment he made about Ahmaud Arbery has now resigned.
Deputy Paul Urhahn posted a comment on a WGXA-TV Facebook post discussing the sentencing of the three men convicted of Arbery’s murder. Urhahn commented “That criminal arbery still got the death penalty though.”
The comment was later deleted, but screenshots were shared with news outlets and the Houston County Sheriff’s Office. The office investigated Urhahn and determined he violated departmental policy and was suspended pending termination.
Under the office’s policy, Urhahn had 10 days to appeal the decision or he would face termination on Jan. 20. Urhahn did not appeal and resigned Wednesday.
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WGXA-TV obtained a copy of Urhahn’s resignation letter. He wrote that he appreciated the opportunity to work for the department for 20 years but he did not support how the sheriff’s office handled the investigation.
“However, as you are aware, during my off-duty time while exercising my Constitutional Rights to Free Speech, a very unfortunate series of events occurred, and the manner in which they were handled, is something I cannot support. After deep consideration, I cannot continue as a member of this team and organization. To continue to do so would be against who I am and what I believe.”
Chief Deputy Billy Rape said Urhahn, who had been with the office for 20 years, had been disciplined in the past for other violations.
He said Urhahn’s firing was based solely on “the destruction of public respect for himself and our department through all of the social media outrage.”
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