A Georgia deputy has been suspended without pay and is facing termination for a comment he reportedly made on social media about Ahmaud Arbery’s murder.
Houston County Deputy Paul Urhahn reportedly made a comment on a Macon television station WGXA-TV’s Facebook post:
“That criminal Arbery still got the death penalty though,” Urhahn wrote.
Viewers were horrified by the crass remark and called for the deputy’s firing.
On Monday, Houston County Sheriff Cullen Talton responded by informing Urhahn in a letter that he was to be “suspended without pay pending termination” after an internal investigation.
The letter accuses Urhahn of “Conduct unbecoming an officer shall include that conduct … which has a tendency to destroy public respect for employees and confidence in the department.”
Urhahn joined the sheriff’s office in 2002. He has until Jan. 20 to appeal the decision. If he does not choose to appeal, he will be terminated.
All three men convicted of Ahmaud Arbery’s murder were sentenced to life in prison.
Travis McMichael was sentenced to life plus 20 years and Greg McMichael to life plus 20 years, with the additional punishment stemming from assault and false imprisonment charges. William “Roddie” Bryan was sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole. Bryan must serve at least 30 years in prison before he is eligible for release from prison.
“We know that Ahmaud was targeted because he was a Black runner in a community that thought that his presence there was inappropriate,” Wanda Cooper-Jones’ attorney, Lee Merritt, said during the interview on “GMA,” following the verdict.
“What I appreciated about the prosecution’s strategy was that they said Ahmaud Arbery was a citizen in the United States running on a free road, and that alone entitled him to life.” he said. “Not by virtue of any, you know, protected class that he belongs to. But we all enjoy these rights as citizens of the United States of America.”