Former Bryan County first responders suing emergency services over claims of retaliation, unsafe practices

Published: Jul. 20, 2023 at 5:52 PM EDT
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BRYAN COUNTY, Ga. (WTOC) - Two Bryan County first responders are suing their former employer.

Lt. Sam Bradbury and Division Chief Summer Patterson are each suing Bryan County Fire and Emergency Services and its leaders. They say they saw unsafe practices and reported them to their superiors.

Bradbury claimed that in March, she reported another lieutenant had “committed acts of sexual assault and harassment of recruits...” and “smelled strongly of alcohol while on duty.”

The response? Bradbury claims Division Chief Shannon Bancroft yelled at her when she got the report.

Meanwhile, Patterson says in May, she was in the room when Fire Chief Freddy Howell and Division Chief Bancroft manipulated promotion scoring numbers for Battalion Chief positions.

Patterson says that manipulation put Bradbury at the bottom of the promotion list. She says when she called them out on it, they also retaliated against her. Giving her an extra 20-30 hours of work per/week.

In all, the lawsuit accuses the department of unlawful retaliation, violating the Georgia Whistleblower Act, conspiracy, deprivation of rights, and more.

The employees’ attorney said, “As public safety officials, Summer and Sam took their duty and responsibility to keep their coworkers and their citizens safe very seriously... it’s unfortunate they were retaliated against for doing what’s right.”

The suit also accuses Chief Freddy Howell of wasting tens of thousands of taxpayer dollars.

WTOC contacted Howell to get his side of the story. WTOC has not heard back yet.