John Pethel

John Pethel testifies in appeals hearing Nov. 24.

The dismissal of a Jackson County employee who made the comment "shoot them all" about a Gainesville protest last summer has been upheld by a hearing officer.

Former Jackson County EMS employee John Pethel Jr. appealed his June firing at a lengthy hearing in November.

Pethel was fired from his job a EMS training director and public relations officer following a social media post on Facebook he made about protesting in Gainesville during the George Floyd protest movement.

"Shoot them all," Pethel said in his post.

Pethel argued in November that his comments had been taken out of their complete context.

The appeal was held before hearing officer Emily Bagwell following Pethel's unsuccessful attempts to get his firing overturned by county officials

County manager Kevin Poe testified in November the he agreed with the decision to fire Pethel for the social media post. 

Pethel argued that a "small group of people" are targeting public safety employees in North Georgia by looking at Facebook postings and then sending those to employers.

About his June Facebook posting, he said he didn't wish violence on anybody, "except these people that are looting and burning businesses and hurting people."

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