A Georgia Sheriff’s deputy is suspended without pay and faces termination after making comments about Ahmaud Arbery’s death.
Paul Urhahn of the Houston County Sheriff’s Office commented on one of WGXA’s social media posts, writing, “That criminal Arbery still got the death penalty though,” regarding the sentencing, ABC 7 reported.
The now-deleted comment has caused a stir amongst local communities and Georgia residents, including Eli Porter, an activist with the Poor And Minority Justice Association. He condemned Urhahn’s comment, calling it disgusting.
“That deputy represents that entire department, and for him to say something like that – I’m just… it got under my skin,” Porter said.
Though the suspended deputy deleted the comment, a series of screenshots were shared with members of the WGXA newsroom and the Houston County Sheriff’s Office, leading to an investigation into the incident. On Monday morning, the probe concluded that Urhahn would be suspended without pay, taking effect on Tuesday.
Sheriff Cullen Talton stated that the deputy violated several department policies after leaving the comment on the local news social media account. He can appeal the decision within 10 days of his suspension. If he chooses not to appeal, he will be terminated on Jan. 20.
Sheriff Talton released a statement regarding the investigation and Urhahn’s suspension. Porter told ABC 7 that he believes the deputy should apologize “to make sure that everybody knows that the sheriff’s office does not stand with what Paul said.”
As reported by News Onyx, a cell phone video captured the brutal killing of 25-year-old Arbery, who was gunned down by three white men in Brunswick, Georgia. Arbery’s killers — Travis McMichael, Gregory McMichael and William “Roddie” Bryan Jr. — were sentenced to life in prison last week after being convicted in November.
Superior Court Judge Timothy Walmsley issued the punishments for all three men while reserving a one-minute silence in the courtroom to demonstrate the fear Arbery felt as he was running for his life moments before his death.
Walmsley also acknowledged that the 25-year-old victim is dead because “confrontation was being sought.”
“He left his home to go for a run and ended up running for his life,” Walmsley said.
Arbery’s mother, Wanda Cooper-Jones, made a statement addressing her deceased son, saying, “I made a promise to you the day I laid you to rest. I told you I love you, and someday, somehow, I would get you justice.”
“Son, I love you as much today as I did the day that you were born,” she continued. “Raising you was the honor of my life, and I’m very proud of you.”
The three men are currently awaiting court proceedings on federal hate crime charges.