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Given 2nd chance, ex-Fulton sheriff’s lieutenant faces 15 years in prison
Two years ago, a Fulton County sheriff’s lieutenant almost lost his job for pocketing a civilian’s knife, then lying about it. The department’s rules say dismissal is the minimum penalty for lying, but Sheriff Myron Freeman let Lt. Earl Glenn stay on the job after serving a 30-day unpaid suspension.
Today, Glenn admitted that he repeatedly and unnecessarily struck a jail inmate last year and lied about it when an FBI agent interviewed him. He faces up to 15 years in federal prison and a $500,000 fine.
Glenn, 47, pleaded guilty to using excessive force and perjury in connection with the August 2008 incident. In a news release, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said two fellow detention officers witnessed the incident and eventually reported it to federal authorities.
“Law enforcement professionals, as part of their basic duties and responsibilities, are sworn to uphold the U.S. Constitution and its underlying principles of due process,” FBI Special Agent in Charge Gregory Jones said in a prepared statement. “Those serving in management roles are held to an even higher standard of ensuring that these oaths are followed and that civil liberties are protected. Not only did former Lt. Glenn fail do this, he obstructed the federal investigation looking into this matter.”
Fulton County personnel records show Glenn was nearly fired in May 2007 after confiscating a knife that a civilian had carried into the courthouse without triggering an alarm. Glenn confirmed that a metal detector could not “see” the knife when it was carried in a certain position and told a deputy to write up a report, records show, but did not write up one of his own.
Four days later, after a judge reported the incident to a supervisor, Glenn turned over a 2-inch Swiss army knife that he said he had taken from the civilian, records show. The supervisor checked with a court employee who had seen the knife and returned to Glenn, who repeated the story.
“Those statements were false,” Freeman said in a May 31, 2007, letter notifying Glenn of his pending dismissal. “The knife taken by you … was in fact a buck knife with a three-inch locking blade with a black plastic handle.”
Freeman’s letter noted that the minimum penalty for “fraud, falsehood, perjury and malfeasance,” under personnel regulations, was dismissal, even on the first offense.
Glenn met with Freeman a week later and left with a settlement that gave him a 30-day suspension if he agreed not to appeal to the Fulton County Personnel Board. The purpose was “to apply the least severe action which will improve your performance to an acceptable level,” Freeman wrote in acknowledging the deal.
Glenn served his suspension and stayed on the job until a federal grand jury indicted him April 23. The new sheriff, Ted Jackson, tried to suspend Glenn indefinitely the next day, but Glenn had already turned in his retirement papers.