Six Ga. Firefighters Punished for Accident Video


Spalding County firefighter Joshua Tomlinson is one of six firefighters the county punished Tuesday.

"How do you feel about the punishment the county handed down to you and the other firefighters? I think it was fair, in my opinion," said Tomlinson.

The county said Tomlinson, firefighters Eric Huggins and Franklin Mcdowell were on the scene the night Dayna Kempson-Schatcht died in a fatal crash.

The county said they saw firefighter Terrance Reid take cell phone video of Kempson-Schatcht's body but did not report it.

"I feel that it was wrong to take a video in the first place. Firefighters, being in the profession that we are in, we need to show confidentiality. We don't need to be out there taking pictures and sending them," said Tomlinson.

The county said Reid posted the video on the Internet and sent it to others. Someone sent that video to Kempson-Schatcht's parents.

The county hired a law firm to investigate the incident. The investigative report recommended firing Reid, which the county did immediately.

The report also recommended the county punish the other firefighters who knew about the video but did nothing.

"I will say that what Mr. Reid did was morally and ethically wrong, but outside of that, my lawyers asked me not to comment," said Capt. Lee Slaughter.

Slaughter and Lt. Michael Windham were supervisors on the scene the night the video was taken.

In Slaughter's written reprimand, the county stated, "Firefighters on the scene state you were within the immediate vicinity of Terrance Reid when he took the video, making your denial of knowledge of it seem implausible."

Slaughter said he plans to fight the punishment.

The county gave firefighter Jarrison McBrayer a verbal reprimand. The county said he was not on the scene the night of the crash, but he did see the video later that night.

"A reprimand is pretty fair because it could have been worse," said Tomlinson.

The investigative report also recommended firing interim Fire Chief Kenney West. County Manager Tim Whalen said, at this time, the county does no plan to take action against West.

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