ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
Abbey Winters / Chattooga County Sheriff's Department

The Chattooga County (Georgia) Commission budget hearing Friday morning started quietly, with residents and members of the media sitting around a boardroom table.

Jason Winters, the sole commissioner in Chattooga County, sat at the head of the table and checked his watch, according to a video posted by Casie Bryant, a reporter for the online news site AllOnGeorgia.

Winters took a sip from a paper cup and held a smile for 30 seconds.

Commissioner Winters held up a copy of the Summerville News and asked if anyone in the room needed it. Then Winters' eyes widened as he watched his wife Abbey, off camera, pour an entire soda on Bryant's head.

"There you go," Abbey Winters was heard saying. "I'm sick of it."

"Oh, that's classy," someone in the room said.

"Every bit of this has been brought on [by her]," Commissioner Winters said, pointing in the direction of Bryant.

"Nobody brings that on herself," someone else in the room responded.

Bryant put the camera in her bag, gathered her belongings and left the room as the soda dripped from her coat and the rest of her equipment.

some text
A screenshot of the video taken by All On Georgia's Casie Bryant shows the moment Jason Winters watched his wife, Abbey, pour a soda on Bryant's head during a budget hearing meeting Friday meeting in Chattooga County.
some text
All On Georgia's Casie Bryant after Abbey Winters poured a soda on her head before a Chattooga County budget hearing Friday morning. Photo courtesy of the Summerville News.

Police were called and, within a few hours, an arrest warrant was put out for Abbey Winters on charges of simple battery and disorderly conduct.

Sgt. Ty Hutchins with the Summerville Police Department detailed in an incident report that Bryant did nothing to provoke Abbey Winters at the meeting.

However, witnesses said Mrs. Winters told Bryant and others that she "deserved that," according to the incident report.

After meeting with her attorney later Friday, Abbey Winters told officers she had accidentally poured the drink on Bryant's head after "stumbling and tripping near her," according to the incident report.

Police said several witnesses mentioned a Facebook post by Bryant on her personal account.

Bryant posted a meme on her Facebook page with the text: "That moment when you hit a nerve" with a cat "stirring the pot" the night before the meeting.

The same week, Bryant posted a screenshot of a text message she received as a tip from a source asking her to look into a trip Winters and his wife reportedly took to Paris "after all he has NOT done for our county."

The tip came from someone who claimed to work with Abbey Winters.

Bryant's video captures some of that.

When someone sitting next to Bryant said that she brought it on herself, Bryant asked, "By saying that he went to France?"

"Oh yes, b —— ," Abbey Winters replied, according to Jason Espy, a reporter with the Summerville News who was in the room during the heated exchange.

Delvis Dutton, owner of AllOnGeorgia, said in a statement Friday that he was "disappointed to see not only the behavior of those involved, but the excuses made for the behavior after the fact."

Abbey Winters turned herself in at the Chattooga County Jail at about 4:30 p.m. Friday and was released on a $1,520 bond on both counts.

Commissioner Winters told the Times Free Press Monday morning that he was unable to comment on the incident and would make a prepared statement later this week.

Bryant could not be reached Monday for comment.

Contact Patrick Filbin at pfilbin@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6476.

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT