DeKalb sheriff pleads guilty in park incident
Wilford Hardnett was charged with armed robbery and aggravated assault on July 29 after allegedly stealing Stadtlander’s phone and kicking him while Stadtlander participated in a rally to support transgender equality.
“I was really caught up in the moment. I wanted to stream [the march] live on Facebook,” Stadtlander told Georgia Voice. “I lifted my phone up and before I could press play, a guy on a bicycle stopped right in front of me. He called me a gay slur; he snatched my phone and he tried to flee.”
He tried to stopped the suspect, who kicked him in the shin. Hardnett’s attempt to flee was hampered by the rest of the marchers, who were coming from the opposite direction. Stadtlander said the suspect yelled a number of gay slurs, claimed he had a Glock and threatened to shoot those participating in the march. It was then the crowd backed away and he fled.
Hardnett was apprehended about an hour later after he rode past the 10th Street MARTA station, where Stadtlander was standing with police officers. He was able to identify the suspect as the one who took his phone and assaulted him. At the time of his arrest, Hardnett did not have a weapon.
Atlanta Police sent Georgia Voice an incident report corroborating details of the account. It also stated that once Hardnett was transported to the Zone 5 Precinct, he made several statements about wanting to commit suicide, so he was transported to Grady Detention Center. The report also states that the city camera at the intersection of 10th and Peachtree was not working.
Georgia Equality endorses Cathy Woolard
Statewide LGBT advocacy organization Georgia Equality on Aug. 1 announced its endorsement of former Atlanta City Council President Cathy Woolard in the race for Atlanta mayor.
Woolard, the first openly LGBT elected official in Georgia history and first woman to be president of the Atlanta City Council, is one of two LGBT candidates running for the position in a very crowded field. She’s joined by several pro-LGBT candidates, many of whom are regulars at community events – five of them (Woolard, Atlanta City Councilman Kwanza Hall, state Sen. Vincent Fort [D-Atlanta], Atlanta City Councilwoman Mary Norwood and Peter Aman) attended Georgia Voice’s Best of Atlanta awards last month.
“I have been advocating for our LGBT rights since the 1980s,” Woolard, a former lobbyist for Georgia Equality, said in a prepared statement. “I’m not someone who just shows up when it’s easy or to take a pretty picture. As a lesbian, the fight for fairness and equality is personal, and I will continue to advocate for the rights of every marginalized person. As mayor, I will use my position to push for full civil rights at the state, regional, and national level.”
The Atlanta mayoral race is one of several municipal elections that will take place this November, with the contest almost guaranteed to go to a runoff the following month.
DeKalb County Sheriff Jeff Mann pleaded guilty to charges stemming from a latenight incident in a popular gay cruising area of Piedmont Park in May. Mann, who was accused of exposing himself to a man who turned out to be a police officer, then fleeing, was initially booked for indecency and obstruction. As the AJC reports, Mann reached a deal with prosecutors in which they would drop the indecency charge if Mann pleaded guilty to prohibited conduct and the original obstruction charge.
The sheriff was also ordered to pay $2,000 in fines and perform 80 hours of community service, which he reportedly already completed by volunteering for Hosea Feed the Hungry. Mann was also banned from all city of Atlanta parks for six months.
Sheriff Mann will retain his position, which he was re-elected to a four-year term to in November, unless his license is revoked or voters petition to recall him.
While the criminal case against Mann is closed, the Georgia Peace Officer Standards and Training Council, which certifies the state’s 58,000 officers, will now launch its own investigation, POST spokesman Ryan Powell told the AJC last month. The council has the authority to suspend or revoke his license.
A decision on Mann’s certification could come during the December meeting of the council, Powell said.
DeKalb County Sheriff Jeff Mann