Bacon County, GA – A Georgia sheriff was booked into his own jail after he was accused of grabbing an elderly man by the throat outside the Bacon County Sheriff’s Office.
The incident occurred on May 22 when Bacon County Sheriff Mark Cothren encountered John Daniel Melton as the 75-year-old man approached the sheriff’s department, WJXT reported.
Georgia Bureau of Investigation Agent Mark Pro said that Melton was “engaged in conversation” with Cothren when “the sheriff put his hands on him.”
“He grabbed him around the throat area,” Agent Pro said.
Although he refused to provide any information about what might have led up to the altercation, Agent Pro said that Melton was not an inmate or in custody, nor had he assaulted the sheriff, according to WJXT.
Sheriff Cothren let Melton go after the confrontation.
“The sheriff just released him and the guy went on his way,” Agent Pro said.
Sheriff Cothren, 50, turned himself into his own sheriff’s department where he was facing charges of elder abuse, battery, and violating his oath of office, WUGA reported.
The department website said that this sheriff has worked in law enforcement for Bacon County since 1990, working his way up through the ranks from the jail to patrolman to investigator to chief deputy, WJXT reported.
Bacon County is a rural area located about 100 miles southwest of Savannah.
On May 30, the Georgia Sheriffs’ Association sent a letter to Georgia Governor Brian Kemp asking that he intervene and exercise his prerogative to suspend Sheriff Cothren, WJXT reported.
The letter called for an investigation into whether Sheriff Cothren should be suspended with pay pending the resolution of his criminal court case, according to Terry Norris, executive director of the Georgia Sheriffs’ Association.
If the governor were to agree with the sheriffs,’ Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr and two other sheriffs would be appointed to investigate and make a recommendation to Kemp within 30 days.