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Georgia deputy resigns over social media comment on Ahmaud Arbery case

Deputy Paul Urhahn says he doesn't support how things were handled, and that being part of the team would go against his beliefs.

WARNER ROBINS, Ga. — A Houston County deputy facing termination has resigned in the wake of uproar over a Facebook comment he made about the Ahmaud Arbery case.

Earlier this month, Deputy Paul Urhahn left an offensive comment on a Macon television station’s Facebook post.

He wrote, “that criminal Arbery still got the death penalty though” underneath a story about his three killers being sentenced to life in prison for his murder.

That comment caught the attention of people on social media almost instantly. Dozens of people demanded disciplinary action against the deputy.

On Monday, Jan. 10, Sheriff Cullen Talton wrote a letter to Urhahn notifying him that he was suspended without pay and had 10 days to appeal the decision before he would be terminated.

Talton said the decision was reached after reviewing the requesting discipline letter and an internal affairs investigation report.

Instead, Urhahn chose to resign in a letter dated Jan. 16, received on Jan. 18, and effective Wednesday.

He writes that he was exercising his Constitutional right to free speech while off-duty, leading to a “very unfortunate series of events.” He says he doesn’t support how things were handled, and he can therefore no longer be a member of the team as it opposes his beliefs.

Marcus Arbery Sr. told 13WMAZ over the weekend he was stunned to learn about the comment that tried to discredit his son’s name.

“My son lost his life and people are still trying to tarnish my son's name, you know what I'm saying? These people who swore under oath to protect me and your life. That stuff really rattles me really bad,” said Arbery. “I was really shocked, especially, I can understand somebody in the street saying that, but our law enforcement? I was really shocked for him [Talton] to take action so quickly. If he is a good sheriff, trying to clear it up is what he is supposed to do.”

RELATED: Ahmaud Arbery's father shocked to hear about Houston County deputy's Facebook comment

RELATED: 'He should be removed from office': Houston County deputy facing firing over offensive comments about Ahmaud Arbery murder case

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