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Posted February 17, 2012 EST

Home >  US Fire / Rescue News >  State News >  Georgia
3rd Macon-Bibb Firefighter's Punishment In Hazing Upheld
United States (Georgia) - An administrative law judge has upheld the punishment for a third Macon-Bibb County firefighter involved in a firehouse hazing prank that involved a masked gunman threatening firefighters. The judge ruled that firefighter Jessie White's suspension for 10 working days should stand, White said. He received a copy of the ruling by mail Wednesday.

"I disagree with the ruling," White said Thursday. "I still feel like my punishment was too harsh."

Having his case heard by Judge Robert Herndon was the last appeal available.

"It's as far as I'm allowed to go," White said.

White argued his case before Herndon without a lawyer Jan. 12. He contended that his punishment was unfair because another firefighter who took a more active role in the prank received the same punishment.

White admitted that his part in the prank was falling to the floor and appearing scared. Christopher Houston, a firefighter who came to the station off duty with ketchup on a white shirt and pretended to be hurt, received the same 10-day suspension. Houston didn't appeal his punishment.

At the hearing, White said he didn't take part in planning the prank and participated only because it was planned by his commanding officer, then-Capt. Stephanie Burke.

Fire Chief Marvin Riggins' contention at the hearing was that White's punishment was tailored to his actions. He characterized Houston's role as that of an actor and said it was similar to White's playing the part of a scared firefighter.

Herndon issued a ruling last month upholding the firing of Christopher Hughes, a firefighter who admitted furnishing a nonfunctional BB gun for the prank and setting off a firecracker to simulate gunfire.

The judge also has upheld Riggins' decision to demote Sgt. Joshua Brewer to the rank of private and to suspend him for 10 work days without pay.

Brewer has admitted that he recorded the prank using a cell phone and later posted a video online to YouTube. The video was intended to be visible only to certain users, but it was accidentally posted publicly.

Burke also has appealed her demotion to the rank of lieutenant and a suspension of 20 days. Herndon's decision in her case has not been released.

In all, eight firefighters were disciplined following the prank, which targeted rookie firefighters at the department's Peake Road station Sept. 18.

Written by The Macon Telegraph

Courtesy of YellowBrix - YellowBrix


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