The suspended Georgia deputy who made an insensitive comment about Ahmaud Arbery on Facebook has resigned.
According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Paul Urhahn, a 20-year veteran of the Houston County Sheriff’s Office, told the sheriff in his resignation letter that he was exercising his “Constitutional Right to Free Speech.” He also said that he was off duty when he made the comment about Arbery being a “criminal” who got the “death penalty.”
Urhahn said his remarks led to “a very unfortunate series of events” and he didn’t agree with the way things were managed by the sheriff’s office. “After deep consideration, I cannot continue as a member of this team and organization,” he wrote. “To continue to do so would be against who I am and what I believe in.”
As REVOLT previously reported, Urhahn reacted to a story on WGXA-TV’s Facebook page after Arbery’s killers — Travis McMichael, his father Gregory McMichael and their neighbor William “Roddie” Bryan Jr. — were sentenced to life behind bars for the killing. “That criminal arbery still got the death penalty though,” the deputy wrote and later deleted.
However, screenshots of his comment were shared throughout several social media platforms, prompting backlash from community leaders.
“That deputy represents that entire department and for him to say something like that… It got under my skin,” activist Eli Porter, who works with the local Poor And Minority Justice Association, told ABC 7.
The Houston County Sheriff’s Office launched an investigation into Urhahn’s comment and he was subsequently suspended without pay pending termination after finding that he violated departmental policy. Sheriff Cullen Talton said that the deputy was suspended because the behavior discredited the department and was unbecoming of an officer.
Urhahn’s termination was supposed to go into effect on Thursday (Jan. 20) if he did not appeal the decision within 10 days.