The wife of a county commissioner is facing criminal charges after an incident at a budget hearing Friday morning involving a reporter.
According to an incident report by Summerville police, Abbey Winters, wife of Chattooga County Sole Commissioner Jason Winters, poured a drink on AllOnGeorgia reporter Casie Bryant as she sat at a conference table ahead of Friday’s public meeting. The drink soaked Bryant’s hair, clothing, belongings, and equipment. A witness called 911 and Summerville police responded to the Commissioner’s Office.
Present for the meeting and at the time of the incident were representatives from the local newspaper and the local radio station, WZQZ – FM 99.1 – AM 1180 Radio and four witnesses, all of whom offered statements to authorities, several of which included that Abbey Winters said twice after dumping the drink that Bryant “deserved” it.
According to the police report, news articles, and witness statements, Commissioner Winters stated after the incident that it was only an accident, but that Bryant ‘deserved’ it. After seeking legal counsel, authorities noted in the police report that Abbey Winters claimed that the whole thing was an accident and that she had tripped.
Following the investigation, police applied for warrants of Abbey Winters for simple battery and disorderly conduct and turned the matter over to the Chattooga County Sheriff’s Office.
According to the incident report, Jason and Abbey Winters went to attorney Chris Corbin’s law office following the incident where they were contacted by police regarding the warrants. Corbin is the county attorney for Chattooga County.
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Delvis Dutton, owner of AllOnGeorgia, said Friday:
“What happened at the budget meeting today was completely inappropriate and I’m disappointed to see not only the behavior of those involved, but the excuses made for the behavior after the fact. The media plays an integral role in ensuring transparency and these types of antics are dangerous to open government and a disservice to the people it serves.”
He also thanked the Summerville Police Department for taking the matter seriously.
AllOnGeorgia cameras were already rolling Friday when the incident occurred. You can watch the unedited video below.
As of the close of business Friday, Winters had not turned herself into the Chattooga County jail.