DeKalb sher­iff pleads guilty in park in­ci­dent

GA Voice - - Georgianews -

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

Wil­ford Hard­nett

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