November 30, 2006
He has an unblemished record and has never been late to work, but today, Richmond County sheriff's deputy Jason Brown was suspended for 30 days without pay for threatening a local newspaper reporter.
Sheriff Ronnie Strength handed down a suspension of 30 days without pay and a year's probation while working for the sheriff's office to Deputy Jason Brown.
"It may be a little severe," Sheriff Strength told News 12. "We've got to send a message we aren't going to tolerate anything less, and our people know that."
It all stems from Deputy Brown's threatening letter to Metro Spirit reporter Corey Pein.
Pein had previously exposed three other deputies and their content on their MySpace web pages. As a result, one was fired and two were suspended.
Shortly after that, Deputy Brown sent an anonymous, threatening email to Pein, suggesting the reporter not get caught speeding or stepping out of line. He also posted the letter to MySpace, which is how Pein discovered who sent the email. Pein and his boss let the sheriff's office know.
"People can have their websites, and that is their business, but don't associate it with the sheriff's office," Sheriff Strength said.
On Monday, the deputy hand-delivered an apology to the Metro Spirit reporter, and Sheriff Strength says that played a part in his decision.
"It was a big part, because I did not force him to apologize."
"From what I heard, this is not an officer who has been in trouble before," Pein said. "I didn't expect terrible things to happen to him. An apology counts for a lot."
While he's on suspension, Deputy Brown will also not be allowed to work any specials.