The wife of a Georgia county commissioner turned herself in Friday after an arrest warrant was issued based on allegations she poured soda on the head of a local reporter in an incident that was partially caught on video.
Abbey Winters, 35, the wife of Chattooga County Sole Commissioner Jason Winters, allegedly took the action during a county budget meeting that left attendees gasping and seeming to quickly take sides on the matter.
“There you go. I’m sick of it,” a woman can be heard saying off-camera as the commissioner, sitting across from the camera, nods his head with his lips pursed.
Out of the recording camera’s view, photos taken at the meeting captured AllOnGeorgia reporter Casie Bryant seated with the liquid covering her head and jacket.
“Oh that’s classy,” a woman says in the video released by AllOnGeorgia.
“No,” says Jason Winters before saying something indistinguishable while pointing a finger toward where the commotion was taking place.
Several witnesses told police that Bryant had not done or said anything to provoke what happened just before the drink was poured on her, according to a copy of the police report shared by AllOnGeorgia.
According to local station WTVC, Bryant had written on Facebook the night before the meeting about the commissioner’s budget plans as well as his recent trip to France.
“Fresh off his trip to Paris, he’s ready to talk about the budget to the PUBLIC,” Bryant’s post read. She added that she had received requests from the public to look into how he afforded such a trip.
Local Summerville News reporter Jason Espy told WTVC that there had been unsubstantiated rumors on social media last week that the commissioner used county funds to pay for his honeymoon in Paris. Espy said such rumors appeared to be “malicious gossip.”
“She brought it on herself,” a woman who appears to be seated next to Bryant says in the video after the drink has been flung.
“By saying that he went to France?” another woman asks.
“Oh yes, bitch,” another woman replies.
“No, you need to stop, girlfriend,” one woman says.
“I need to stop? I need to?”
Bryant was interviewed by police and said she recalled hearing someone say that the drink “looked good on her,” according to the police report.
Jason and Abbey Winters, after speaking with their attorney, called the incident an accident and said that Abbey Winters simply tripped and spilled her drink on Bryant. Jason Winters, according to WZQZ, added that Bryant “deserved what happened to her.”
Abbey Winters turned herself in after an arrest warrant for charges of disorderly conduct and simple battery was issued on Friday. Records show she was released on $1,520 bond.
The Winters’ attorney and Bryant did not immediately respond to a request for comment Monday.