New details from Milledgeville fire chief's arrest


A "stop the violence" basketball tournament is where Milledgeville's fire chief reportedly became confrontational with a former employee, according to a Milledgeville Police Department incident report.

The incident report sheds some new light on the case of Chief William Collier, who was booked at the county jail five weeks after the basketball tournament and charged with one count of simple battery.

In the days that followed the incident, the MPD turned the case over to the GBI, but not before an MPD officer filed an initial incident report.

The GBI's investigation was pretty cut-and-dried, based on the fact that seemingly every square inch of Baldwin High is covered by cameras, and GBI agents were able to view video footage of the incident. Also, "numerous firefighters and civilians witnessed the incident," according to the incident report.

The First Responders Basketball Tournament took place on Oct. 22 in the Baldwin High gymnasium and was a response to a rash of gun violence this year around Milledgeville and Baldwin County.

The MPD officer responded to the BHS gym around 6 o'clock in the afternoon, according to the incident report. The officer first interviewed the victim, who conveyed that he showed up to the gym in his basketball gear and ready to play. "(The victim) was recently let go from his position with the fire department but was still planning to participate," according to the incident report.

Added the report: "(The victim) stated prior to the start of the event, he was approached by Collier, who was agitated (that the victim) and another first responder were present at the event. (The victim) stated Collier advised him he was not going to play on Milledgeville’s team. (The victim) stated he mostly ignored Collier’s remarks in order to not escalate the situation. (The victim) stated as if Collier was mad about something, he continued to make comments." 

At that point, according to the victim, Collier "began to use profanity towards him and told him '(Expletive) what anybody says, if you go out there (on the court) and try to represent Milledgeville, I'm going to embarrass you."

Added the incident report: "(The victim) stated he told Collier to stop speaking towards him disrespectfully, and that’s when Collier grabbed (the victim) by the back of his shirt and snatched it. (The victim) stated he pulled away, and before the incident could become more physical, other first responders intervened and separated the two."

The victim then left the court and went back to the locker room. He ultimately declined EMS treatment.

The victim "stated he was later informed Mayor Mary Parham-Copelan had spoken to Collier briefly before he left the event."

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