JENNINGS — Jennings Fire Chief Jalon Herring was arrested earlier this month on charges of abuse of a disabled adult without great harm.

Herring was arrested Dec. 2 on a warrant issued by the State Attorney’s Office following a September incident that led to the suspensions of five Jennings firefighters and one Hamilton County EMT.

“I believe it is the right thing to do to make sure something like this doesn’t happen again,” Sheriff Harrell Reid said.

Herring was released on a $5,000 bond within an hour of being booked into the Hamilton County Jail.

The HCSO received a report Oct. 4 into a Sept. 20 incident in which three volunteer members of the Jennings Fire Department participated in acts of violence against a 19-year-old with autism.

A video shows Herring, of Jasper, standing in front of the victim, with both wearing boxing gloves. After light taps to the gloves at the start of the video, Herring rushes the victim while hitting him, causing the victim to fall to the ground and begins kicking and hitting in an attempt to get the suspect off of him.

Herring continues hitting the victim until the video ends.

The disabled adult is a mentally disabled adult who had been living at an assisted living facility in Jennings for several months prior to the incident.

According to the HCSO report, the victim's caregiver said he has the mental capacity of a 10-year-old child, who is easily coerced into doing things and doesn’t know how to tell people “no.”

The report also stated that several members of the Jennings Fire Department and EMS have sparred with the victim prior to this event, however their encounters were nowhere near the extent of the video shown of Herring and the victim, which was widely viewed as excessive by many of Herrings peers, law enforcement and many in the community.

Herring’s arraignment proceedings are scheduled for Jan. 30, 2020, at the Hamilton County Courthouse.

Kara M. Compo is a reporter for the Suwannee Democrat, Jasper News and Mayo Free Press. Her beats include general assignment, government, politics, law enforcement and first responders. ​

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