MARIETTA, Ga. (AP) — A Democrat running for sheriff in a suburban Atlanta county faces questions about an arrest that led to a four-day suspension when he was a deputy.
The Marietta Daily Journal reports that body camera footage shows former Cobb County Sheriff's Sgt. Jimmy Herndon conducting a profanity-laden arrest in December 2016.
About a minute into the video, the deputies knock on the door of a house, and a young adult answers. The young man says his parents own the house and the people for whom the warrant is intended had been evicted.
But one of the officers, Herndon, says he smells marijuana on the video obtained by the newspaper through an open records request.
“That night, did I cuss on a warrant? Yeah,” Herndon said “I didn’t hurt anybody, I didn’t use force on anybody, nothing.”
The incident led to a suspension and was the first of three that ended in his termination in September 2017, according to an 2019 letter to Herndon signed by incumbent Sheriff Neil Warren, also obtained through an open records request.
The letter alleged Herndon violated the terms of a settlement by criticizing the office and discussing details of the agreement they reached almost two years earlier, when Herndon left the department. As such, his personnel file would no longer say he had “resigned” but had been “terminated.”
Warren said in a December interview that the controversy over seven inmate deaths in 13 months was in part based on “statements from a liar” whom he named as “little Jimmy Herndon.” Warren maintains the jail is well run and inmate health is a priority.
Warren has served as sheriff since December 2003 and the Republican is seeking reelection this year. Herndon is one of three Democrats running.
Herndon has been among the sheriff’s most vocal critics. He said disciplinary measures taken against him in 2017 were retaliation for his interest in running for sheriff.
Sheriff’s office spokesman Glenn Daniel said several incidents "led to a progressive disciplinary action that ended in termination.” The sheriff’s office denies the disciplinary measures taken against Herndon in 2017 had anything to do with his candidacy.
The only incident cited in a letter informing Herndon of his termination, however, is one in which Herndon allegedly lied about having used a web browser on a department computer that allows users to surf the internet anonymously.
The sheriff’s office denies the disciplinary measures taken against Herndon in 2017 had anything to do with his candidacy.
Herndon is suing Warren, saying the sheriff first violated terms of their settlement by publicly releasing details of Herndon’s firing.
A settlement required Herndon not to criticize the sheriff's office or reveal its terms. Herndon says Warren failed had to amend the file to say he resigned and amend internal affairs case files to say charges weren't sustained.