Cobb County Sheriff Neil Warren has settled a civil lawsuit brought by a rival candidate over the right to post comments on the sheriff’s Facebook page.

Warren and two of his employees at the sheriff’s office, Cmdr. Robert Quigley and Deputy Glenn Daniel, were named in the lawsuit as defendants by plaintiff James Herndon, who used to work as an investigator in the Cobb sheriff’s office.

Herndon is running for the sheriff’s seat in this year’s elections on the Democratic ticket.

He and the sheriff’s office have now settled in the civil case, court documents show.

Warren, Quigley and Daniel agreed to pay Herndon $750 in damages and $29,000 in legal fees, per court records.

Under the settlement, the sheriff’s office also has to restore posting privileges to Herndon on the sheriff’s Facebook page.

In return, Herndon dropped his civil suit against Warren and the others, and the case was officially dismissed Friday in the U.S District Court for the Northern District of Georgia Atlanta Division.

Herndon posted the seven-page settlement document Friday on his public Facebook page as a candidate for Cobb sheriff in the 2020 election.

“I am not one to simply talk and posture,” he wrote alongside the post. “I will fight bullies wherever I find them. Today I have settled a case against Sheriff Warren for what I believed to be a violation of my First Amendment rights.”

Herndon filed the lawsuit in November 2019, alleging he was banned from posting comments on the Facebook page after he criticized the sheriff. The comments were deleted off the page, he said, in violation of his rights.

“It is unfortunate that a lawsuit had to be filed to right a wrong but you can not always walk away from bullies,” Herndon wrote on his Facebook page. “Sometimes you have to take the longer and more difficult path and fight when your rights are being trampled.”

The settlement agreement, signed by all parties, stipulates that the settlement does not constitute an admission of guilt on behalf of the defendants, and that Warren, Quigley and Daniel have “expressly denied” liability throughout.

In a statement sent to the MDJ on Friday, the sheriff said Herndon wasted taxpayers’ money with the case.

“Here is an example of how a disgruntled former employee can continue to cost taxpayers,” Warren stated. “He wanted to post angry untruthful comments on my personal social media page and had to resort to lawyers and legal fees to get his way. Definitely a waste of time and resources for all involved.”

Warren said he took action to block “some individuals” from his personal Facebook page, including Herndon, after some users posted “disparaging messages, offensive images and even a pornographic video clip.”

The page is a space for him to post about his family and his life experiences, including his role as Cobb sheriff, Warren stated, claiming at no time was Herndon, or anyone, blocked from any official social media accounts of the Cobb County Sheriff’s Office.

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