Ga. Law Judge Upholds Video Prank Discipline

Jan. 31--An administrative law judge has upheld discipline imposed on two firefighters in connection with a prank at a Bibb County fire station involving a masked man threatening firefighters.

Firefighter Christopher Hughes was fired following the Sept. 18 prank that targeted rookie firefighters. Sgt. Joshua Brewer was demoted to the rank of private and suspended 10 days without pay.

Both firefighters appealed the discipline at a December hearing before Judge Robert Herndon.

In rulings issued Monday, Herndon wrote that the discipline for both men was appropriate.

Neither was found guilty of violating a city guideline pertaining to "incompetent, negligent or inefficient" job performance, according to the rulings.

The firefighters were found guilty of violating policies regarding employee conduct and hazing. Hughes additionally was found guilty of violating a fire department policy prohibiting weapons from being carried into fire stations, according to the rulings.

Hughes has admitted furnishing a non-functional BB gun for the prank and setting off a firecracker to simulate gunfire.

Although Hughes has the right to appeal Herndon's decision to Macon Mayor Robert Reichert, he said he doesn't plan to appeal.

"It'd be a waste of time," he said.

Brewer declined comment Tuesday.

Brewer has admitted he recorded the prank using his cell phone and later posted a video to the social media web site YouTube.

Both men have contended that their supervisor participated in the prank, and their punishment was too severe based on public scrutiny.

Firefighter Jessie White and then-Capt. Stephanie Burke, who also are shown on the video, also have appealed their discipline. No ruling has been released in their cases.

White was suspended for 10 days without pay. Burke was demoted to the rank of lieutenant and was suspended for 20 days without pay.

In total, eight firefighters were disciplined following the prank.

For more on this story, come back to and read Wednesday's Telegraph.

Copyright 2012 - The Macon Telegraph, Ga.