JENNINGS, Fla. — Five Jennings firefighters and one Hamilton County EMT have been suspended as the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office investigates a battery on a disabled adult.
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.
Video shows Jennings Fire Chief Jalon 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.
According to a source, in addition to Herring, who is a correctional officer with the Florida Department of Corrections, other Jennings firefighters present include Nash Crosby and Dylan Lee were present at the time the incident occurred.
Volunteer firefighter John Davis who also serves as an officer with the Jennings Police Department, was reportedly there. According to the HCSO report, when investigating Deputy Smith questioned Davis regarding whether he was present at the time of the event, Davis “chuckled a little” and then stated “yea” so as to answer that he was present. Once Deputy Smith advised Davis of the seriousness of the incident, Davis changed his answer saying, “Well I wasn’t up here, I got the video then came up here after it happened”, then stated that he didn’t know that what had occurred was an actual crime.
The disabled adult is a mentally disabled adult who has been living at an assisted living facility in Jennings for several months now.
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 victim has since been transferred to Meridian, a mental health clinic in Lake City.
According to sources, also present was an EMT with Hamilton County, who had possession of the video that was eventually reported to the HCSO, which is still investigating the incident.
It was reported to HCSO that the victim frequently hangs out around the EMS/Fire Station in Jennings.
The report also states 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 is being viewed as excessive.