A DeKalb County, Georgia deputy claims he was forced to resign for wearing an Afro wig on the job during the last week of his 20-year career, cutting short his retirement by three days.
Antonio Perryman told WSB-TV he decided to don the wig while directing traffic in front of the courthouse last week to “make people happy,” but it cost him his retirement despite an otherwise positive and productive 20 years in the sheriff’s department.
“My plan was to finish with the DeKalb County Sheriff’s Office with 20 years of service and I got robbed from that,” Perryman said.
The official reason, he contends, is especially ironic.
“I was later informed by Chief Maddox that she hand the sheriff were totally upset over the Afro wig and told me that I disgraced the uniform,” he told the television station. “When she told me that, I just got numb. Like ‘I disgraced the uniform?’ And in my mind, I’m up here saying that we got a sheriff running through Piedmont Park from the police like it’s an episode of ‘Cops.’”
Atlanta police arrested Sheriff Jeffrey Mann at the park in 2017 for public indecency for allegedly exposing himself, as well as obstruction of justice for running from officers who responded to complaints, the Atlanta Journal Constitution reports.
Mann pleaded guilty to lesser charges, though the state revoked his law enforcement certification. The sheriff appealed the decision and is expected back in court later this year. If he loses the appeal, he’ll be forced to resign because state law requires sheriffs to be certified officers, the AJC reports.
Perryman said he simply wanted to lighten the mood during his last week on the job, and while he doesn’t expect to lose pay, he’s not happy that the hypocritical punishment tarnished his record.
“I said, ‘Hey, you know, let me make people’s day, you know? Do something a little different.’ So I put on the Afro wig. Neither time I was out there did I not do my job duties,” Perryman told WSB-TV.
Motorists laughed, honked and took pictures, and seemed to enjoy the fun, he said.
“You know, that made me feel a little joyous about that being my last week,” Perryman said.
Perryman told the television station his record at the sheriff’s department was otherwise positive, but department officials refused to discuss his termination or release his personnel file without a public information request. WSB-TV submitted a request and is awaiting a response.